State racing ex­pi­ra­tion of lethal in­jec­tion in­gre­di­ent

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By An­drew DeMillo

lit­tle rock, ark.» Af­ter nearly a dozen years with­out an ex­e­cu­tion, Arkansas is racing to put eight men to death next month over a 10-day pe­riod — an un­prece­dented timetable the state says is nec­es­sary be­cause one of the three in­gre­di­ents in the lethal in­jec­tion will soon ex­pire.

If car­ried out, the ex­e­cu­tions be­gin­ning April 17 would make Arkansas the first state to ex­e­cute that many in­mates in such a short time since the death penalty was re­in­stated by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1976.

The ac­cel­er­ated sched­ule calls for prison work­ers to con­duct four dou­ble ex­e­cu­tions, with only a few days in be­tween. It poses a num­ber of risks, ex­perts say, and the state’s prepa­ra­tions are shrouded in se­crecy.

Some at­tor­neys and death-penalty op­po­nents ques­tion whether the quick turn­arounds will in­ten­sify pres­sure on the prison staff and cause prob­lems, as hap­pened in Oklahoma in 2014, when an in­mate writhed and moaned on a gur­ney for 43 min­utes af­ter his in­jec­tion, or in Ari­zona, where the fa­tal dose took nearly two hours to work.

At the heart of the rush is the short­age of the seda­tive mi­da­zo­lam, used to put an in­mate to sleep be­fore re­ceiv­ing the lethal chem­i­cals. The Arkansas sup­ply ex­pires at the end of April, and it’s un­clear whether the state can find more. Drug mak­ers have stopped sell­ing it to prisons be­cause they ob­ject to the prod­uct be­ing used in ex­e­cu­tions.

Danny John­ston, The As­so­ci­ated Press

A closed-cir­cuit tele­vi­sion cam­era watches over the Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tion death cham­ber in Varner, Ark. The agency in April 2017 will at­tempt to con­duct four dou­ble-ex­e­cu­tions in a 10-day pe­riod af­ter not ex­e­cut­ing any­one 2005.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.