Matthew Reeves, an Alabama death row inmate, was executed Thursday night just two hours after his Supreme Court ruling.

Held at Holman Prison in Alabama, the 44-year-old was arrested in 1996 when he was just 18. The teenager was sentenced to death after he fatally shot a man named Willie Johnson with a shotgun on the side of the highway. Johnson reportedly picked up Reeves thinking he was a hitchhiker.

According to the New York Post, Matthew Reeves allegedly reenacted the killing at a party he attended later that night with Willie Johnson’s blood still on his hands and clothes. He was convicted of capital murder and robbery for $360 before given the death penalty.

Matthew Reeves, an Alabama death row inmate executed despite claiming a disability
Matthew Reeves, an Alabama death row inmate executed despite claiming a disability. Alabama Holman Prison

Described as a “last-minute fight,” Reeves’ lawyers submitted an objection to stop the lethal injection execution, claiming that their client requested a more-natural method.

They also claimed that he had a disability that prevented him from being able to choose how he was executed on a form correctly, and that no one was present to help him fill it out. His lawyers argued that under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Reeves should have received accommodation due to his cognitive functioning disability.

The death row inmate’s lawyers also argued that Matthew Reeves was not contesting the execution, but that he was requesting a less “torturous” method than lethal injection. Instead, he requested death by nitrogen gas, which has never before been used in the United States, according to CBS News.

Siding with the state, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to execute Matthew Reeves by lethal injection, throwing out his appeal. He was executed just two hours after the decision was read.

The three liberal-leaning justices – Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor – were joined in their dissent by Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

“The evidence in this case is clear, Mr. Reeves’ sentence is fair, and tonight, justice was rightfully served,” Alabama Governor Kay Ivey said in an official statement Thursday night.

According to CBS News, a defense expert testified in a report that Matt Reeves “read at a first grade level,” and that his disability placed him within “the language competency of someone as young as 4 years old.”

The state, however, rejected his appeal and claimed that his disability would not have prevented him from understanding his options for execution.

He was visited by family before the execution and was moved to cell close to the execution chamber before the final decision. He also reportedly declined a last meal.

Describing lethal injection as “torturous,” Matthew Reeves allegedly sought nitrogen gas as an alternative method following the execution of Willie B. Smith, back in October.

Another death row inmate in the state of Alabama, Willie B. Smith had allegedly also requested nitrogen gas despite being given lethal injection.

In a similar case, lawyers argued that his learning disability prevented him from understanding the paperwork given to him by the facility. They also cited a 2002 Supreme Court decision that declared executing intellectually disabled people was unconstitutional. In both situations, the death row inmates’ disabilities were ignored.

CBS News also reported that despite becoming an option in 2018 instead of lethal injection, the state still has yet to develop a system for using nitrogen to execute inmates.

Many death row inmates have become skeptical of lethal injection after several botched attempts halted executions in several states around the country. In Oklahoma, John Marion Grant’s execution was called violent and horrific, as the drugs took a second injection to subdue his convulsions and end his life. It was the third execution to go wrong since 2015.