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Oklahoma pharmacy agrees not to supply drug for Missouri execution

An Oklahoma compounding pharmacy has agreed on to not provide a drug necessary to execute a Missouri inmate who has filed a suit arguing that the drug could cause severe and inhumane pain, but state officials said they would still proceed with the execution. US District Judge Terence Kern on Tuesday dismissed inmate Michael Taylor's suit after Tulsa pharmacy The Apothecary Shoppe agreed to not prepare pentobarbital or any other drug for use in the execution. Missouri's execution protocol calls for pentobarbital, but state officials maintain that the state would be able to carry out the February 26 execution of Michael Taylor, who was sentenced to death for the kidnap, rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl, without having to make significant changes to state protocol. It is unclear whether the state has obtained a different drug or an alternative source for pentobarbital. Taylor's attorneys filed a motion [Kansas City Star report] in federal court to stay the execution, arguing that a change in the protocol or the pentobarbital supplier a week before the scheduled execution would violate Taylor's right to due process of the law. The state must respond in writing to Taylor's motion for a stay of execution by noon on Thursday.

There is a shortage of commonly used lethal injection drugs in the US, forcing a number of states to modify their execution drug protocols. Earlier this week the Supreme Court of Georgia heard arguments [JURIST report] regarding the constitutionality of a law allowing the state to withhold the identities of the manufacturers of Georgia's lethal injection drugs. Last week a federal judge in Louisiana scheduled [JURIST report] a trial to review the constitutionality of the state's new execution protocol, which delayed the prisoner's execution for 90 days. In January the US Supreme Court stayed [JURIST report] the execution of a Missouri death row inmate because the state refused to release the name of the pharmaceutical to be used in the execution, but the stay was later lifted and the execution carried out. This same two-drug mixture at question in Louisiana was used last month in the execution of an Ohio convict, which reportedly caused him to suffer visible pain; his children have filed a suit in federal court over the prolonged execution [JURIST reports].

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