Keith Edmund Gavin, an inmate from Alabama, requests to forego autopsy following his execution due to religious beliefs in Islam.

Keith Edmund Gavin, an Alabama Death Row inmate, has stated that he won’t be filing any last-minute appeals to halt his upcoming lethal injection execution. However, he has requested state officials to refrain from conducting an autopsy on his body due to his religious beliefs.

According to a lawsuit filed by his lawyers, Mr. Gavin is a dedicated follower of Islam. His religion emphasizes the importance of keeping the human body intact as it is considered a sacred temple. Mr. Gavin firmly believes that an autopsy would violate the sanctity of his body and go against his religious beliefs. Therefore, he vehemently opposes any autopsy being performed on his body after his execution.

According to the lawsuit, Gavin is particularly worried about how his body will be treated, given the recent surge in lawsuits from the families of deceased inmates. These lawsuits claim that the bodies were returned with missing organs, or in some cases, with all organs missing.

After failing to reach a resolution regarding the handling of Gavin’s remains with state officials, a lawsuit was filed on June 14 in Montgomery Circuit Court by his lawyers.

According to the lawsuit, Gavin is not seeking to block his execution or make any further appeals or requests for stays of his execution. The argument over the autopsy is simply a matter of ensuring proper procedure is followed.

The defendants in the lawsuit are officials who may have been involved in the autopsy process. These include Escambia County District Attorney Stephen Billy, Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner John Hamm, William C. Holman warden Terry Raybon, Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences Director Angelo Della Manna, and Chief Medical Examiner for ADFS Edward Reedy.

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After an execution in Alabama, state officials have the authority to decide whether or not to conduct an autopsy. Typically, autopsies are carried out following an execution.

The lawsuit states that the aim of this law is to definitively determine the cause of death in such cases. It further adds that after the execution of Mr. Gavin, there will be no ambiguity about the cause of his death, as it will be the State’s execution via lethal injection.

According to the lawsuit, there is an alternative option for the state to conduct a less intrusive autopsy.

On Tuesday afternoon, an official from the Alabama Attorney General’s office responded to

According to William Califf, the deputy chief of staff of the attorney general’s office, they are actively working to find a resolution for the case.

Gavin was convicted for the murder of William Clayton Jr. in Cherokee County back in March 1998 and was subsequently sentenced to death. His execution is scheduled for July 18 at William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, which is the only prison in the state that has an execution chamber and where most death row inmates are located. In case of any delays, the execution could be carried out on July 19. Gavin is expected to be administered a lethal injection.

According to court records, Gavin was on parole from Illinois when he was taken into custody for the murder of Clayton, a courier service driver. Clayton had parked his van in downtown Centre to use an ATM machine after completing his deliveries for the day. He was simply stopping at Regions Bank to withdraw money for dinner with his wife.

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The authorities quickly captured Gavin after the incident, and unfortunately, Clayton was declared deceased upon arrival at the medical center.

According to testimony, Gavin was identified as the shooter by two eyewitnesses, one of whom was his cousin and an employee of the Illinois Department of Corrections. During the trial, the cousin testified about their trips to Centre and how he witnessed Gavin firing shots at the driver of a van on that particular day. Gavin also allegedly fired shots at an investigator before fleeing the scene.

After spending 17 years in prison for murder, Gavin was released on parole from an Illinois prison just a few months before the slaying occurred.

Despite multiple appeals in both state and federal court, Gavin’s conviction remained intact. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected his case three times – in 2005, 2017, and most recently in May 2023 – despite various legal arguments presented.

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