Three teenagers in Selma, Alabama – Reinhard Mabins, 13, Earnest Mabins, 18, Tiffany Harville, 15 – had one thing in common: their lives were brutally cut short by a murderer, Domineque Ray.
Until last week, most of America knew little of Ray, who was sentenced to death in 1999 for his heinous acts. Ray had exhausted all his judicial appeals in both the state and federal courts. Then he filed another appeal on Jan. 28, just 10 days before his scheduled execution.
This time he claimed that the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) was required to allow his own spiritual adviser to accompany him into the execution chamber under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). He claimed that he was being discriminated against because he was a Muslim, having converted to Islam in 2006 while incarcerated.
The ADOC chaplain is a Christian, Ray asserted, and allowing that employee into the execution chamber violated the First Amendment’s Establishment clause.