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Alabama man due to be executed for 1986 double murder

By Peggy Gargis

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (Reuters) - A man who kidnapped, robbed and killed an eastern Alabama couple in 1986 is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on Thursday evening, the first inmate to be put to death under new Governor Robert Bentley's watch.

The execution of William Glenn Boyd, 45, is set for 6 p.m. at a state prison in Atmore, Alabama.

Defense attorneys on Wednesday filed a last-minute appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that the trial judge who sentenced Boyd to death acted improperly by overriding the jury's recommendation of life in prison without parole.

They also were waiting to hear whether the governor would grant Boyd clemency.

If the appeals fail, a corrections spokesman said Alabama has a sufficient supply of sodium thiopental to carry out the lethal injection.

Due to a nationwide shortage of the sedative drug, the state is considering alternatives for future executions, the spokesman said.

"Specifically, the department is looking to amend its protocol, as the state of Oklahoma did, to utilize pentobarbital in the place of sodium thiopental," Brian Corbett told Reuters.

Oklahoma and Texas both have switched to pentobarbital -- a sedative often used to euthanize animals -- as part of a three-drug cocktail for lethal injections.

Boyd's execution will be the second in Alabama this year.

He was convicted in the murders of Fred and Evelyn Blackmon. Authorities said he and another man broke into the Blackmons' home in Anniston, Alabama, on March 26, 1986, and demanded ransom for Evelyn Blackmon's daughter, whom Boyd had dated and claimed to have abducted.

After forcing Fred Blackmon to cash a $5,000 check, the men bound and gagged the Blackmons and drove them into the woods, where the couple was beaten and shot to death.

Police later found Evelyn Blackmon's body in a metal drum that had been dumped into the Coosa River and Fred Blackmon's body in the trunk of his car, also submerged in the river.

(Writing by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Jerry Norton)