Entries in Lethal Injection (5)


Atlanta Judge Orders Videotaping of Execution by Lethal Injection

David J. Sams/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- An Atlanta judge has ordered the videotaping of an execution scheduled for Wednesday evening, but the Georgia Attorney General's Office is appealing the decision.

This is thought to be the first time a lethal injection will be recorded and the first time in almost two decades that an execution will be recorded.

The decision came after attorneys claimed that one of the drugs administered in the lethal injection may cause unnecessary suffering.

Andrew Grant DeYoung, 37, is scheduled to be executed at 7 p.m. for the 1993 murders of his sister and parents. DeYoung was charged with stabbing his family to death in hopes of receiving an inheritance he could use to fund a business venture.

Gregory Walker, another death row inmate, was the petitioner for the order requesting the videotaping.

The order added that the videotaping would proceed only if DeYoung was not opposed to it. After the execution, the tape is to be immediately sealed and no copies can be made.

Though DeYoung consented to the video recording, his lawyers spent Tuesday in federal court arguing that the execution should be postponed until more is known about the controversial drug now being used in the executions.

A federal judge Wednesday denied the stay, but the State Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court are still considering the matter.

The drug in question is pentobarbital, also known as Nembutal. Previously, sodium thiopental was used as the first drug in a series of three during the execution, but the manufacturer stopped making it, causing a nationwide shortage.

In many states, including Georgia, the drug was replaced by pentobarbital, a sedative often used to euthanize animals.

Pentobarbital is manufactured by a company in Denmark called Lundbeck that has publicly said that the drug should not be used in state executions.

The Georgia State Department of Corrections declined to comment on the videotaping of DeYoung's execution or the use of pentobarbital.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Arizona to Carry Out Inmate's Execution with Substitute Drug

David J. Sams/Getty Images(PHOENIX) -- Hours before the scheduled execution of an Arizona death row inmate, the Department of Justice informed the state on Tuesday that it should not use a controversial drug as part of the execution protocol because the state had illegally obtained the drug from a foreign source.

The last-minute move stunned lawyers for convicted murderer Donald Beaty, who had argued for months that Arizona hadn’t been in compliance with federal law regarding the importation of sodium thiopental, one of the three drugs commonly used for lethal injection executions.  The drug is no longer manufactured in the U.S. 

Arizona had consistently argued that it had properly obtained the drug.

In a filing with the Arizona’s Supreme Court, the state’s Attorney General said that it in order to "avoid questions about the legality" of the drug it had decided to comply with the request from United States Associate Deputy Attorney General Deborah A. Johnston.

In the filing, it said it would substitute another fast-acting barbiturate -- pentobarbital -- for the sodium thiopental.  The decision was made about 18 hours before Beaty’s scheduled 10 a.m. execution on Wednesday.  Arizona law allows it to change its protocol without the hearings and legislative review required by some other states.

Long before the surprise announcement from Arizona’s prison, Dale Baich, Beaty’s public defender, had contacted the Department of Justice seeking guidance as to why the Drug Enforcement Agency had seized the drug from five other states this year but not Arizona.

Beaty was sentenced to death in 1985 for the brutal murder of Christy Ann Fornoff, who was 13 years old and on her paper route when she disappeared.  Beaty was convicted for her rape and murder.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Drug Shortage Disrupts Lethal Injection Mix

David J. Sams/Getty Images(AUSTIN, Texas) -- Prison officials in two states have been forced to take dramatic measures in the past 24 hours because one of the drugs used to carry out executions by lethal injection is no longer manufactured in the United States.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice said Wednesday that because its supply of sodium thiopenthal has expired, it will change its three-drug protocol. Effective immediately, pentobarbital will now be substituted for sodium thiopenthal, officials said.

Both drugs are used to induce a coma-like unconsciousness. They are normally followed up in Texas by pancuronium bromide, which paralyzes the inmate, and potassium chloride, which induces cardiac arrest.

Texas has executed more death row inmates than any other state. There are 337 inmates on death row there, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, which is opposed to the death penalty.

Meanwhile, the Georgia Department of Corrections was forced to turn over the state's entire supply of sodium thiopenthal to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration after the agency expressed concern that the state may have improperly imported the drug from a foreign supplier.

Confirming the seizure, a DEA spokesman said the agency acted because of "compliance-related issues" with the importation of the drug.

Georgia has no executions scheduled.

Of the 34 states that allow the death penalty, 31 use sodium thiopenthal.

The lone U.S. supplier of the drug stopped production in 2009, which caused states to scramble to find a new supplier or change their protocols.

Death row inmates and their lawyers have raised questions about whether the drug should be imported from foreign sources at all or whether states are allowing enough time to test new protocols.

Texas chose to change its protocol. Officials say the change will be in place for the April 5th scheduled execution of Cleve Foster. Foster was convicted and sentenced to death for the 2003 murder of Nyanuer "Mary" Pal. Foster's lawyer, Maurie Levin of the University of Texas Capital Punishment Center, is furious. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Jared Loughner Researched Lethal Injection Before Alleged Attack

Photo Courtesy - Pima County Sheriff's Department(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- Before he allegedly went on the deadly shooting rampage in Tucson, Jared Loughner considered every aspect of the assault including the likely punishment, sources tell ABC News.

Loughner, 22, used his home computer to browse a website with information about the effects of lethal injection, according to sources familiar with the investigation. He appeared to want to know what death by injection felt like, the source said.

Lethal injection is the method of capital punishment imposed by the federal government.

Loughner also allegedly browsed the Internet for information about solitary confinement and, perhaps more disturbingly, an official said, he had been researching political assassins.

It all paints a dark picture of cold-blooded forethought, sources said, and an obsession with assassinating Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., who was shot in the head but survived the attack.

Six died and several others, including Giffords, were injured in the Tucson attack on Jan. 8. The congresswoman now is recovering in a Houston brain rehabilitation hospital.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Arizona Carries Out Execution of Convicted Murderer

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(FLORENCE, Ariz.) -- The state of Arizona executed Jeffrey Landrigan Tuesday night for murdering a man during a robbery in Phoenix in 1989.  Landrigan was put to death by lethal injection.

A prison official said Landrigan acknowledged his home state of Arizona before he died.

"His last words were, 'Well I'd like to say thank you to my family for being here and all of my friends,'" according to the prison official.  Landrigan finished off by adding, "Boomer sooner."

An eyewitness to the execution told reporters, "He didn't move during the procedure that I could see.  His lips parted slightly once...he was unconscious."

This is the first execution Arizona has carried out since 2007.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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