You have probably heard about the sideshow put on by Alabama prison officials just before a scheduled execution late last month: A female reporter was hounded and humiliated over her skirt and her shoes. But you may have heard less about the main event, the execution, which was carried out despite pleas for mercy from the family of the victim.

Joe Nathan James Jr. became the second man executed on death row this year in Alabama, which has the highest per capita death sentencing rate and one of the highest execution rates in the country, according to the Equal Justice Initiative. Though Alabama’s leading politicians and most of its voters cling to the motto “pro-life,” they are not — not by any definition.