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Alabama inmate dies after 25 years on death row

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ATMORE, Alabama — An Alabama inmate convicted of capital murder died of natural causes Tuesday after spending more than 25 years on death row.

Ricky Dale Adkins, 49, died overnight in the infirmary at Holman prison in Atmore, prison officials said.

Stephen Bright, a lawyer for Adkins, said the prisoner recently was diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas and liver. Adkins' attorneys learned of the illness last week, he said.

"This case was really, really quick. The cancer was very advanced when it was diagnosed," said Bright.

Authorities said an autopsy will determine the cause of exact cause of death.

Adkins was convicted of capital murder in St. Clair County on Nov. 21, 1988. He was on death row in the slaying of real estate agent Billie Dean Hamilton during a rape, robbery and kidnapping.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a new trial for Adkins last year, ruling that prosecutors wrongly removed blacks from the pool of possible jurors, but the trial had yet to be scheduled.

A hearing in the case was set for July 10 in St. Clair County.

"The prison people had told us he wouldn't live until July 10," said Bright.

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