The murderer who said he wanted to die – and did.7 January 2019
By Scott Dozier, as told to Paul Martin.
“By the time you read this I will almost certainly be dead.”
It’s a rarity for a journalist to get an interview with a Death Row prisoner who dies – but is not executed…. The story of how I got to know Scott Dozier is itself amazing, and something my blog will reveal.
But first read this:
Scott Dozier agreed with me that it should be published as a first-person piece, giving his own final comments on his life – and on the meaning of his impending death. He was found late Saturday night (USA East Coast time) January 7 2019, hanged in his cell.
By the time you read this I will almost certainly be dead.
I don’t want to commit suicide, but I was pleased the State was willing to do the killing for me. Unlike me, there are people on Death Row fighting tooth-and-nail to stay alive. One old guy’s been here since 1979. I’m the only one putting himself up on the chopping block.
Some say I’m courageous, others that I’m a coward.
I did everything possible to make sure the State of Nevada would kill me – but I did not like the way it proposed using dubious fatal drugs. Rather than be strapped to a gurney and injcted, I’d far prefer have been shot by a firing squad, and be able to look the executioner right in the eye. A firing squad is definitive and it’s cheap.
The whole idea of trying to kill you nicely nicely (with drugs) is absurd. They should do it horribly by shooting me in the face. I would absolutely not use a blindfold. I want to see his eyes as he pulls the trigger.
Instead though, we’ve wasted over a year arguing about whether the cocktail of drugs will cause me some pain as I die, so violating the US Constitution that bans cruel and unusual punishment. I’ve insisted to the judge that I want to die, but as they’ve spent millions putting me on a very flawed [murder] trial and even more keeping me in prison for the last 12 years on Death Row, I suppose they may as well find drugs that do the job properly.
I accept the unknown of death rather than the known of this life. I may just be walking myself into a shit-storm, but I’ve always been one to walk toward things. I’m told there could be great things after death. Although I’m an atheist, I’m excited to discover what comes next. Probably nothing.
My life is no longer worth living – I cannot move five yards without some arsehole telling me where to go or not go. There are 48 cells for 48 of us on Death Row, and I have to live around murderers, talking about the finer points of raping someone. Society now treats me the same as those fucking monsters. I’ve had to continue to smile and be courteous to people I consider reprehensible.
Yes I can do my art and watercolours. Yes on most days I can make a couple of phonecalls, and listen to heavy metal, to Dead Man’s Bones, St. Vincent, and a lot of punk rock on my MP3 player and headphones. Occasionally I give myself a haircut, and I work out. But that’s not a life. What I miss is an endless list. I cannot have any intimate relationships. Everything in my life is a bare minimum.
I have a granddaughter, just turned two. But I’ve refused to see her – ever. I remember my wonderful grandfather, and I don’t want my granddaughter to know her grandfather only across a prison table. That would be heart-wrenching.
A grandfather-grandchild relationship should be interactive and cool. But I cannot show her anything like I experienced: exploring cars and exploring trees and that sort of thing. When I’m dead I’d rather she imagines who I am, not remembers me as that man she had to meet inside a jail.
Yes, I have some family, and I love my brother and my sister dearly dearly dearly. My sister is low-key hilarious. My brother is one of the sweetest guys in the world.
I’ve explained to my family I’d rather be dead than this and my family believe me. It’s like having cancer, I’ve told them, and not wanting treatment. They find it tough; they don’t think its a stellar idea. But they sort-of understand.
I hate the claims in court hearings that I turned out this way because I was abused as a child, or there were suicides in the family. (My favourite grandfather did kill himself.) I take responsibility for my own actions.
And actually I had quite a decent childhood, then a short spell in the US army, and a short marriage. There’s a photo in my Death Row cell of me with a beret, and my young wife Angela.
Now my last moments are arriving.
But I will not be saying much – whatever the means is that I exit this world. I’m not going to give anyone the satisfaction of telling what really happened when these two guys died. I don’t owe it to the State and I don’t owe it to the two men I’ve been convicted of killing. I do feel genuine sorrow, though, for these men’s families.
The State has the right to kill me: if you fuck with some entity bigger than you, you get fucked. I chose to live outside the law. Ever since high school I chose to make money, which they say is the root of all evil, by selling drugs. That gave me freedom to pursue my lifestyle.
I believed supplying drugs was my freedom of choice, and taking them was the users’ choice. Free will. Now I realise it’s not that simple.
You may find it hard to believe, but I’ve always had a strict moral code. It’s important to me that no-one’s ever accused me of killing children or women, only other criminals. When you are operating outside the law you have to act disproportionately to others who also operate outside the law. It’s the only way to protect yourself.
I don’t have feelings of guilt. I don’t have any grand ideas about being judged by God, or anyone else. Those aren’t even issues for me. I live by a very strict moral code. Granted it’s not exactly the same as the [generally accepted] social contract.
I was convicted in Nevada of killing a 22-year-old man and cutting up his body. This man was a fellow-criminal.
MURDER VICTIM JEREMIAH MILLER, 22, photo is from CLARK COUNTY COURT.
What bothers me is the State claimed I had stolen twelve thousand dollars from him that he’d brought to buy some drugs. Not true. I would never steal.
I’m not even sure why I’m dictating this final piece. I’m not campaigning for any reforms. Nothing is going to change.
But I do know this: I’ve never been one to hide or cower. I believe you must stand on your feet, not live on your knees.
Now I, Scott Dozier, say: Let’s get it done. Good-bye.
VICTIM’S MOTHER’S TESTIMONY
The torso of Jeremiah Miller, 22, was found in a suitcase that had been dumped in a rubbish bin. His hands, feet and head were never recovered.
“We had found him, and he’d been thrown out like garbage,” his mother Kimarie Miller said during the murder trial in 2007. “We didn’t even have all of him anymore, and that’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life.”
She said he was fluent in Spanish, had helped build homes for Habitat for Humanity and hoped to help underprivileged kids. She had no idea he had been involved with the drugs trade.
“My son is not alive and not able to hug, to laugh, to get patted on the back, to drink water, to eat mints, to see his family, to make decisions for himself, to change his life course, to do anything,” Kimarie Miller testified. “But I miss him. He’s not — he wasn’t like a fly that you swat because it’s an annoyance, and then you never think about him again. He was a part of our lives.”
Miller’s parents attended every day of Dozier’s first murder trial in Arizona before he was tried for their son’s killing in Las Vegas. They later declined invitations to be present at the two planned executions that were aborted.
“If I’d been in Jeremiah Miller’s position, I would have wanted to see me being killed,” Dozier said.