MONTANA – A judge ruled earlier this month that the lethal injection drug protocol did not comply with state law and ordered an indefinite halt to all executions. District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock of Helena said the state’s current method is not an “ultra-fast-acting barbiturate,” as required and the statute must be modified. The lawsuit was brought by Montana’s two death-row inmates, Ronald Smith and William Gollehon.
OKLAHOMA – An autopsy for Charles Warner, who was executed in Oklahoma in January, shows the state used the wrong drug in the killing. Officials claim they didn’t discover the mistake until they were going to execute Richard Glossip. He was spared in the final minutes. It’s the latest controversy in the state that had all executions put on hold for nine months after the botched execution of Clatyon Lockett. “We cannot trust Oklahoma to get it right or to tell the truth. The State’s disclosure that it used potassium acetate instead of potassium chloride during the execution of Charles Warner yet again raises serious questions about the ability of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections to carry out executions,” said Dale Baich, an attorney in Glossip v. Gross.
ARKANSAS — After a move to restart its death penalty process and setting the date for eight executions, the Arkansas Department of Corrections has been ordered to identify the manufacturer, seller and distributor of its lethal injection drugs. Circuit Judge Wendell Griffin stayed the executions and gave the DOC until Oct. 21 to identify or object. Lawyers for the inmates argue the law that shields the state from revealing drug manufacturers and sellers is unconstitutional. Arkansas hasn’t killed an inmate since 2005.
MISSOURI – Four days before his scheduled execution, the governor of Missouri commuted the death sentence of Kimber Edwards to life without parole. Prosecutors called for death in an alleged murder for hire killing of his ex wife. But the actual killer recanted his story and said he acted alone. Edwards has a form of autism that makes him vulnerable to falsely confessing when subjected to coercive police tactics.
VIRGINA – On Oct. 1, Alfredo Prieto was killed by the state of Virginia before the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled on whether to grant a stay in his drug challenge. His attorney, Robert Lee, said the justices were still considering the challenge to Virginia’s lethal injection protocol when the Department of Corrections went ahead with the execution.