OK appeals court postpones 2 executions due to lack of drug for lethal injection

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Oklahoma, OK, United States (4E) – The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals ordered a delay in the execution of two death row inmates Tuesday as the state Corrections Department could not obtain two of three drugs to be used in the lethal injection of the convicts.

The order by four of the five-judge court moves the execution date of Clayton Derrell Lockett, 38, from Thursday to April 22. It also delays the execution of Charles Frederick Warner, 46, from March 27 to April 29.

Lockett was convicted for the shooting dead of a 19-year-old woman in 1999 while Warner was convicted for the murder of his girlfriend’s 11-month-old daughter in 1997.

The judges said they believe the state cannot procure the drugs pentobarbital and vecuronium bromide in time for the scheduled execution of the two inmates. Pentobarbital is used to anesthetize and veruconium bromide to paralyze a person to be executed. A third drug for lethal injection is potassium chloride for stopping the heart.

The judges cited Assistant Attorney General Seth Branham’s motion objecting to the stay of the executions filed on Monday. In his brief, Branham said the state executioners run out of pentobarbital and a deal to buy the drugs from a pharmacy last Wednesday did not materialize.

Manufacturers of the said drug are reportedly stopping production of drugs used for execution because they are located in European countries that ban the death penalty. Prison officials also could not source from local pharmacies, which did not want to be publicly linked to executions.

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