Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The Supreme Court on Wednesday stopped the execution of a convicted Missouri murderer whose lawyer said he would suffer from lethal injection due to his medical condition.
The court said the stay of Russell Bucklew’s execution is granted pending appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. In the appeal, Bucklew’s lawyer, Cheryl Pilate, said her client “faced a great likelihood of a prolonged and tortuous execution because of the unique and severe medical condition that causes vascular tumors to grow in his head and throat.”
Pilate added that the state’s refusal to reveal the source of the drug to be used in the execution “adds to the risk that Mr. Bucklew will suffer an agonizing execution, which the Eighth Amendment prohibits.”
Missouri’s attorney general tried to convince the court to deny the stay on grounds that Bucklew knew his medical condition for so long but only brought it up “less than two weeks before his scheduled execution.”
The stay was rare as the Supreme Court usually denies last-minute appeal by death row inmates.
Bucklew, 46, was convicted in 1996 for killing a man who lived with his ex-girlfriend and kidnapping and raping her. His execution would have been the fifth in Missouri this year.