Missouri Death Penalty News

Started by Jeff1857, April 12, 2008, 02:51:56 AM

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Court to set death dates in 2 cases ----Prosecutor describes Bucklew as 'most purely evil' suspect.

The Missouri Supreme Court yesterday sustained Attorney General Jay Nixon's motion to set 2 execution dates, including the execution of a man convicted in 1997 by a Boone County jury.

The execution date of Russell E. Bucklew, 39, will be set "in due course," according to the court's online record. Bucklew was one of 14 inmates that Nixon listed in his request for execution dates.

The court's ruling yesterday was the 1st since the U.S. Supreme Court in April upheld the use of lethal injection. The state of Missouri also has added an anesthesiologist to the team that will carry out executions.

Missouri hasn't performed an execution since Marlin Gray was put to death in October 2005.

Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle said no one deserved the death penalty more than Bucklew. Swingle prosecuted Bucklew for the 2006 murder of Michael Sanders, 27, in his Cape Girardeau County home in the presence of Sanders' 2 preschool-age sons, his girlfriend and her 2 young daughters.

"Russell Bucklew was the most purely evil man I ever prosecuted," Swingle said.

A former electrician who grew up in Lincoln County, Bucklew shot Sanders to death and then beat and abducted the woman, who was Bucklew's ex-girlfriend. Bucklew raped the woman and took her with him as he drove toward St. Louis. Troopers with the Missouri State Highway Patrol stopped him in St. Louis County.

In an ensuing gunfight with officers, Bucklew was wounded 4 times and wounded a trooper.

Former Boone County Circuit Judge Frank Conley presided over Bucklew's change-of-venue trial in Columbia and pronounced the sentence in accord with the jury's recommendation.

Conley also sentenced Bucklew to 30-year prison terms for kidnapping and rape, 30 years for burglary and five years for armed criminal action.

The state's high court yesterday also agreed with Nixon's motion to set an execution date for John J. Middleton, who was convicted of killing 2 people in Mercer County in 1995, according to The Associated Press.

(source: Columbia Tribune)
Looks like Missouri is going to join the party.  ;)


It seems that Jeffs spirits is lifting...  ;)

I´m not sure if there´s a hell, but I believe in executed murderers.

Granny B

Bucklew surely deserves the death penalty, not only for the murder and rape.  He also deserves it for damaging those children for life to see their father murdered before their young eyes.  No telling what kind of long lasting psychological damage Bucklew did to those children.  I really don't see how an anti can say he does not deserve to die for what he did, but they will against all logic.

And as to the debate on whether it is ethical for a doctor or nurse to participate in the  execution of a murderer on death row......that is between the doctor or nurse and their God.  Not for the anti dp foes to make that decision for the person.  Obviously the doctor does not see it as unethical or not against the doctor's ethics oath or they would not participate in the execution process.

It certainly was not ethical for the murderer, Bucklew, to kill his victim or beat and rape his ex-girlfriend.  But then the murderer did not care about ethics either, did he?

I would gladly support and use the services of a doctor who participates in the legal execution of a murderer on death row.  It would not bother me a bit.  I would bet a lot of other pro dp supporters also would.

" Closure? Closure is a misused word in the English language.  There is no such thing as closure for the family of a murder victim.  There will never be any closure for the death of our loved ones until we are dead ourselves.  The families have a lifetime sentence of anguish and sadness." 
Susan Levy


ST. LOUIS (AP) - Missouri appears ready to resume executions for the first time in nearly three years.

The Missouri Supreme Court said late Friday it will set dates for two men in "due course" while the Department of Corrections confirmed Monday for the first time that its execution team is in place.

"Our execution team is in place and we're ready to go," Corrections spokesman Brian Hauswirth said. "We're waiting for the Supreme Court to set an execution date."

The state disclosed in federal court papers last month that its execution team includes a nurse and an anesthesiologist, despite professional guidelines against doctors taking part in executions.

The Supreme Court on Monday would not comment on the timing of its order, or whether it was prompted by news that medical professionals had been recruited for the execution team. A court spokeswoman said the court "believed it was appropriate based on the facts of the case."

The court's two-sentence order upheld Attorney General Jay Nixon's requests to set execution dates for two Missouri men convicted of murder more than a decade ago. It said execution dates for John Middleton and Russell Bucklew would be set in "due course."

Bucklew, 40, of Cape Girardeau, shot and killed his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend, Michael Sanders, in front of the woman and four children in 1996.

Middleton, 48, of Spickard, received three death sentences for the murders of Alfred Pinegar, Stacy Hodge and Randy Hamilton in 1995.

In the last year, Nixon has asked for execution dates for 14 condemned prisoners. Currently, 47 await the death penalty.

Missouri hasn't executed an inmate since convicted killer Marlin Gray was put to death in October 2005. The next in line, convicted killer Michael Taylor, won an 11th-hour stay of execution in February 2006.

Taylor's subsequent challenges to Missouri's lethal injection procedures prompted a federal judge in 2006 to issue an execution moratorium that was later lifted.

Missouri wasn't alone. A number of states that use lethal injection withheld executions while the U.S. Supreme Court considered the constitutionality of the procedure.

The high court in April upheld it, but left the door open to challenging lethal injection procedures in states where problems with administering the drugs are well documented.

Some Missouri condemned prisoners are suing to stop the Department of Corrections from using unfit or untrained people for its execution team.

The department recently won the legal right to protect the identity of its execution team, but the state has agreed to provide information on team members' licensing, credentials and training.

Hauswirth said medical personnel will perform the duties assigned to them in the department's lethal injection protocol.

The team's duties include preparing the chemicals, inserting intravenous lines, monitoring the prisoner and supervising the injection of chemicals by corrections employees, all of which violate professional medical groups' policies against physician participation in executions.

In 2006, the surgeon who previously oversaw the state's executions testified in another court case that he was dyslexic and sometimes transposed numbers.


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Map, News) - The Missouri Supreme Court overturns the death sentence of a man convicted of killing his cellmate while upholding one given by a judge after the jury deadlocked.

The court on Tuesday upheld Michael Taylor's murder conviction for strangling a fellow inmate in 1999. But it ordered a new hearing to determine whether he should be executed. The court ruled prosecutors didn't turn over evidence that could have helped the defense and that defense attorneys were ineffective.

The court upheld Scott McLaughlin's death sentence for fatally stabbing an ex-girlfriend in 2003. A judge ordered that McLaughlin be executed after the jury found that aggravating factors justifying a death sentence were proven but deadlocked on whether he should be executed.
I´m not sure if there´s a hell, but I believe in executed murderers.


A divided Missouri Supreme Court ordered a new punishment phase at a trial for Michael D. Taylor, who was serving a life sentence for the murder of a McCluer North High School student when he strangled his Potosi prison cellmate and got the death penalty.
   The high court, in a 6-0 decision, upheld Taylor's conviction in St. Charles County Circuit Court in 2003 for first-degree murder in the strangulation of inmate Shackrein Thomas, 20, who was in prison for drug violations.

   But the court divided, 3-1-2, on the penalty phase of the trial where a jury determined that Taylor should die by lethal injection. Another jury must now decide if Taylor should die or get life in prison without parole.

   Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Laura Denvir Stith said prosecutors suppressed evidence that the defense attorneys could have used to challenge the credibility of a jailhouse informer.  Moreover, she wrote, the defense attorneys failed to delve deeply enough in the punishment phase into Taylor's ``abusive upbringing and lifelong struggles with mental illness.''

   Judges Richard Teitelman and Michael Wolff joined Stith. Judge William Ray Price Jr., joined by Judge Mary Rhodes Russell wrote the defense attorneys made a strategic call by not putting on additional evidence in the penalty phase about Taylor's mental problems, and the credibility of the inmate witness had been challenged by cross examination.

    Judge Lawrence E. Mooney, an appellate judge sitting on the case, concurred in the results only.

    The case is unrelated to that of Michael A. Taylor, who is on death row for the murder of a girl in Kansas City in 1989.



Mo. lawsuit challenges execution procedures

A group of inmates, families, clergy and lawmakers asked the state's highest court Tuesday to toss out Missouri's roughly 2-year-old execution protocols.

It's the most recent legal challenge to the state's system for carrying out the death penalty.

A federal judge in 2006 halted all executions, declaring Missouri's lethal injection process unconstitutional after the surgeon who previously oversaw the state's executions testified he was dyslexic, sometimes transposed numbers, and operated without written procedures or supervision.

Earlier this year, the same federal judge upheld written protocols that the Missouri Department of Corrections drafted and implemented after the 2006 ruling. Missouri's last execution was in October 2005.

The most recent lawsuit filed over Missouri's death penalty focuses on whether the written execution policies should have been subject to public comment and legislative oversight. The procedures include 6 sections dealing with the composition of the execution team, the preparation of chemicals, the use of intravenous lines, monitoring of the inmate, administration of the chemicals and documentation of the chemicals.

A state trial judge in Cole County ruled earlier this year that the Department of Corrections is allowed to implement an execution protocol without public comment or approval from a legislative oversight committee. That decision was appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court.

State departments regularly create administrative rules designed to implement laws. In those cases, the departments' proposed regulations can be reviewed by an oversight committee of lawmakers tasked with evaluating the rules' fairness and whether they abide by state law.

The Corrections Department contends that the written procedures amount to "internal management" strategies and therefore don't have to go through the same level of scrutiny as official state regulations.

Assistant Attorney General Michael Spillane said that those responsible for overseeing the state's prisons have wide latitude in setting the polices that govern the institutions. He likened execution procedures to setting meal menus or medical care for inmates.

"It's not a housekeeping issue - I don't want to trivialize it - but it's an internal management issue," Spillane said.

Joseph Luby, an attorney representing those challenging the execution procedures, contends the policy for executions amounts to an administrative rule and argued that the protocols should be invalid because they were not submitted for review.

Luby said allowing for open comments on proposed death penalty procedures could help improve them.

"It may influence reasonable people to go about devising a more humane way to go about executing people," he said during Tuesday's arguments.

One person who has already spoken up about Missouri's written execution procedures is the man who performed them until a judge said in 2006 that he could no longer do so in Missouri. Alan Doerhoff told The Associated Press in an August interview that a state guideline calling for using 10 to 15 syringes rather than the usual 3 is overly complicated and potentially problematic.

"It will have the same effect, the guy will die," he said. "But it may not be pretty."

The 7 judges on the high court regularly interrupted the attorneys during oral arguments Tuesday, often offering comments instead of posing questions.

Judge William Ray Price, noting that administrative rules carry more legal weight that department procedures, said that turning the protocols into regulations might actually make it harder for prison inmates to challenge their executions.

"It is more solid as law, and that could be contrary to your clients' interests," Price said. "Or do you not want to worry about that? You want a rule and 6 months more to argue about that."

The lawsuit was filed by death row inmate John Middleton and 16 other condemned prisoners. They include Russell Bucklew, Michael Taylor, Jeffrey Ferguson, Richard Clay, Reginald Clemons, Roderick Nunley, William Rousan, John Winfield, Dennis Skillicorn, Earl Ringo, Martin Link, Mark Christeson, Allen Nicklasson, Paul Goodwin, Vincent McFadden and Kevin Johnson.

Other plaintiffs include 5 spouses or relatives of the death row inmates; 3 clergy members; and 2 St. Louis Democratic lawmakers, Sen. Joan Bray and Rep. Connie Johnson.


Case is Middleton vs. Missouri Department of Corrections, SC89571

On the Net: Courts: http://www.courts.mo.gov

(source: Fort Mill Times)
Hopefully they get this decided quickly.


Missouri Supreme Court rehears case on execution method

The Missouri Supreme Court is taking a 2nd look at the way the state adopted its procedures for executing condemned inmates.

The execution protocol is being challenged by a group of inmates, their relatives, clergy and lawmakers. They claim the Department of Corrections should have adopted the procedures as an official rule following public comment.

The department contends the execution protocol is an internal management policy exempt from formal rule-making.

Supreme Court judges heard arguments on the case in October, about a week before Judge Zel Fischer was appointed to fill a vacancy. The court did not explain why it reheard the case Thursday.

(source: Kansas City Star)
Missouri is going to take longer than I thought.


Posted 5/20/2009

The Kansas City Star

BONNE TERRE, Mo. | Dennis Skillicorn died from lethal injection early this morning, becoming the first Missouri prisoner to be executed in nearly four years and the 67th since 1989.

Skillicorn, 49, was pronounced dead at 12:34 a.m. at the state's Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center.

The Kansas City man was one of the "Good Samaritan killers" who murdered Richard Drummond of Excelsior Springs, and later an Arizona couple in a 1994 crime-spree that stretched from Missouri to Mexico. Skillicorn had been on death row since his conviction in 1996.

Prior to today, Missouri hadn't carried out an execution since October 2005.

In 2007, the state was one of several to delay executions pending the outcome of a U.S. Supreme Court case over the constitutionality of lethal injections. The high court found the method of execution constitutional in April 2008, however, and a lower court issued a similar ruling specific to Missouri a few months later.

Gov. Jay Nixon denied Skillicorn's clemency petition shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday.

"The jury that convicted Dennis Skillicorn determined that he deserved the most severe punishment under Missouri law, and my decision on clemency upholds the jury's action," Nixon said in a statement.

Skillicorn was sentenced to death for the murder of Drummond, a telephone-company supervisor who picked up Skillicorn and two other men after their car broke down in central Missouri.

Skillicorn and Allen Nicklasson continued their crime spree in Arizona, where they killed another man and his wife after the man attempted to help them with car troubles.

Nicklasson, who actually pulled the trigger in the three murders, remains on death row. The third accomplice, Tim DeGraffenreid, was a teenager when he participated in the Missouri murder and is now serving a life sentence.


Execution protocol passes test; 13 more on death row in Missouri

Protesters gathered outside the prison in Bonne Terre, where Missouri's 1st execution in nearly 4 years took place Wednesday. Dennis Skillicorn, convicted of killing Excelsior Springs businessman Richard Drummond in 1994, was executed at the prison.

As lethal chemicals surged into Dennis Skillicorn's arm early Wednesday, a new era in capital punishment began in Missouri.

The state's new court-mandated and court-approved lethal injection protocol passed its 1st test without a hitch, according to prison officials who already are preparing to carry out Reginald Clemons' execution next month.

And 12 more men, many long-term occupants of death row who have exhausted most avenues of appeal, are in line to follow one by one in the coming months.

Missouri's execution hiatus since October 2005 had been prompted by legal challenges to the lethal injection process and the personnel assigned to carry it out.

Authorities developed a new protocol and chose new execution team members. The Missouri Supreme Court ruled the protocol constitutional. And the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the general method of lethal injection used in Missouri and most other states.

In the wake of those court rulings, then-Attorney General Jay Nixon asked the court to set execution dates for 14 Missouri death row inmates, including Skillicorn. 12 of those requests still are pending.

There is no way to predict when or in what order the court will schedule executions, Supreme Court spokeswoman Beth Riggert said.

"The court does not set execution dates until it believes it is appropriate to do so," she said.

On April 20, the court ordered the May 20 execution for Skillicorn. The 49-year-old former Kansas City resident was pronounced dead at 12:34 a.m. Wednesday, after the last in a flurry of final day appeals was denied.

Team members had practiced extensively and each step of the process went according to plan, said Department of Corrections spokesman Jacqueline Lapine.

"We are now focusing on the next date," she said.

Skillicorn died for his role in the 1994 kidnapping, robbery and killing of Richard Drummond, a Good Samaritan who stopped to help Skillicorn and 2 others after their car broke down in mid-Missouri.

Co-defendant Allen Nicklasson, who admitted shooting Drummond, is one of 49 inmates remaining on Missouri's death row. His execution date has not been set. At the time that Nixon requested an execution date for Skillicorn, Nicklasson still had a motion pending with the U.S. Supreme Court. The court later denied that motion.

Skillicorn requested clemency from Nixon, now the governor. In denying the request, Nixon cited Skillicorn's involvement in three other killings, 2 in concert with Nicklasson, and the judgment of the jury that heard the evidence.

Attorneys for Skillicorn questioned Nixon's ability to fairly consider clemency, since as attorney general he had contested all of Skillicorn's appeals and asked the court to set his execution date.

In their final appeal filed late Tuesday night, they said Nixon's office did not notify them of his decision to deny clemency. They learned it from the media.

"The denial of clemency, by a governor who was once the state's chief law enforcement officer, raises profound questions about whether the 'access' to clemency in Missouri comports with state law and respects even the most minimal due process guarantees," attorney Jennifer Merrigan wrote in the appeal.

Skillicorn, who has been involved in many positive activities during his incarceration, was supported in his clemency request by former and current prison workers and prominent state legislators.

"If Governor Nixon wasn't more willing to consider clemency in his case it doesn't bode well for his ability to consider clemency fairly in the future," said Colleen Cunningham, executive director of Missourians to Abolish the Death Penalty.

(source: Kansas City Star)


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The state's incoming chief justice said Tuesday that it was unlikely any executions would be scheduled in Missouri while the courts assess an inmate's lawsuit challenging the state's lethal injection procedure.

Executions had been on hold in Missouri for four years until the state executed an inmate last month. Reginald Clemons' execution was the second scheduled in the state since the courts ruled that lethal injection in general, and the state's three-drug method in particular, was constitutional.

However, the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals put a hold on Clemons' June 17 execution after his attorneys challenged those lethal injection procedures. They are seeking further court proceedings to ensure Missouri is using competent personnel who will not cause inmates pain with insufficient amounts of anesthesia before lethal injections.

A federal decision in the Clemons case could apply to all Missouri inmates facing execution, incoming Chief Justice William Ray Price Jr. said, so it is unlikely any more would be scheduled.

"We're back on hold," Price said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Executions are set by the full seven-member Supreme Court, not just the chief justice, but Price said he doubted the court would "do anything so long as the 8th Circuit is looking at issues of general applicability."

Of the 35 states that allow the death penalty, executions also are effectively on hold because of court cases or moratoriums in California, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada and North Carolina, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Death Penalty Information Center.

Missouri, once a leading death penalty state, had conducted no executions from October 2005 until this May.

Price said the Missouri Supreme Court has "tried to move as expeditiously as possible" in setting executions but has been slowed by the federal courts. "We can't help that," he added.

In 2006, a federal judge declared Missouri's lethal injection process unconstitutional after the surgeon who was overseeing executions testified he sometimes transposed numbers and operated without written procedures or supervision.

The Missouri Department of Corrections responded by adopting written procedures detailing the precise amounts and order of the chemicals to be injected. A federal judge upheld the protocol in 2008, and the state Supreme Court in February upheld the process by which Missouri adopted the execution procedures.

Clemons' attorneys argued before the 8th Circuit in February that the state has not shown that it can carry out the procedures correctly. The court, which has not yet ruled on the appeal, granted a stay on June 5 without giving a reason.

Clemons was sentenced to death for the April 1991 murders of 20-year-old Julie Kerry and 19-year-old Robin Kerry. Prosecutors say Clemons, who was 19 at the time, and three acquaintances randomly came across the Kerrys on an abandoned bridge in St. Louis. Prosecutors say the women were raped, then pushed to their deaths into the Mississippi River.


heidi salazar

Bar Association panel to study Missouri death penalty

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The American Bar Association is launching a review of the way the death penalty is administered in Missouri.

A special ABA committee plans to analyze a dozen aspects of Missouri's death penalty process, including the handling of DNA evidence, police interrogation procedures, prosecutor and defense services and court appeals.

The eight-member panel is co-chaired by law professors Stephen Thaman of Saint Louis University and Paul Litton of the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Litton said similar death penalty studies have been conducted in eight states. He said committees in five of those states recommended a temporary moratorium on the death penalty.


heidi salazar

U.S. Supreme Court rejects Missouri execution case appeal

The U.S. Supreme Court refused Monday to hear a case questioning the constitutionality of Missouri's death penalty method, and Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said he would now seek an execution date for a convicted killer.

The top court's ruling was the last legal hurdle to resuming executions in Missouri, Koster said. He asked the state Supreme Court to set an execution date for Joseph Franklin, a white supremacist responsible for several killings, including the sniper shooting of a man outside a suburban St. Louis synagogue in 1977.

"Today's decision clears up any lingering ambiguities related to the constitutionality of Missouri's death penalty protocols," Koster said in a statement. "Legal hurdles have held the imposition of justice in Missouri in abeyance for 12 months. With today's ruling, these hurdles have been set aside."

Jennifer Herndon, an attorney for several death row inmates, disagreed. She said another lawsuit questioning the legality of Missouri's fatal 3-drug cocktail is still pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Our position is we have another lawsuit pending that is in the middle of discovery, and now is not the time to resume executions," Herndon said.

Beth Riggert, a spokeswoman for the Missouri Supreme Court, said there was no way to predict if or when the court would set an execution date for Franklin.

The lawsuit filed by death row inmate Reginald Clemons and joined by Franklin and several others on Missouri's death row challenged the training and competence of Missouri's execution team.

In 2006, a federal judge declared Missouri's lethal injection process unconstitutional after the surgeon who was overseeing executions testified he sometimes transposed numbers and operated without written procedures or supervision.

Mistakes, the lawsuit argued, could result in prisoners being insufficiently anesthetized and cause undue harm and suffering during the execution process.

The state Department of Corrections responded by adopting written procedures detailing the precise amounts and order of the chemicals to be injected. A federal judge upheld the protocol in 2008, and the state Supreme Court later upheld the process by which Missouri adopted the execution procedures.

In November, a 3-judge appeals court panel rejected the lawsuit. The Supreme Court's decision not to hear it essentially ended the case.

Missouri executed 66 men from 1989 through 2005. There has been just o1 execution since then while lawsuits over the protocol were pending.

Franklin, now 60, was convicted in 1997 for shooting and killing Gerald Gordon, who was standing in the parking lot of a St. Louis area synagogue after a bar mitzvah. Franklin also was convicted of shooting 2 other men who were in the synagogue parking lot. They survived.

While Franklin could be executed for his crimes in Missouri, he also was convicted in the murder of two African-Americans in Utah, the murder of an interracial couple in Wisconsin and the bombing of a synagogue in Tennessee. He has claimed responsibility for the 1978 shooting of Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler magazine.

(source: Associated Press)



Missouri Death Penalty Timeline


Here is a chronology of key events surrounding the death penalty in Missouri since 2005.

Missouri plans to resume death penalty on Jan 12

The formal protocol for executions in Missouri developed by the state Department of Corrections

June 2005: Michael Taylor of Kansas City files Taylor v. Crawford challenging the method of his execution, lethal injection.

Taylor claimed that the state's existing lethal injection procedure violated the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution by creating a substantial and unnecessary risk that he would suffer gratuitous pain. This would later turn into a class action lawsuit.

October 2005: Marlin Gray, who was involved in the Chain of Rocks Bridge murders in 1991, becomes the last person to be executed before a federal court puts a hold on the process in Missouri.

February 2006: Taylor is granted a stay of execution by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit on the grounds that his death could be a cruel and unusual form of punishment under the Missouri execution system.

April 2006: The 2nd case challenging the constitutionality of the lethal injection in Missouri, Clemons v. Crawford, is filed in the U.S. District Court in St Louis.

Death row inmates claim they will be subject to a painful death in violation of their Eighth Amendment right not to suffer cruel and unusual punishment.

June 2006: A U.S. District Court judge in the Western District of Missouri places a hold on executions in the state following revelations in Taylor v. Crawford that the executions surgeon in charge of the lethal injection had prepared half the legal dose of the anesthetic in a number of executions, was dyslexic and performing executions without a written protocol or adequate supervision.

Justice Fernando Gaitan orders a stay on all executions until the Missouri Department of Corrections can develop a formal written protocol that would meet a series of court requirements.

July 2006: The Missouri Department of Corrections drafts a written protocol for lethal injection to address the problems of Taylor v. Crawford and the dyslexic executions surgeon as ordered by a Federal Court judge.

June 2007: The Missouri Attorney General requests execution dates for death row inmates Roderick Nunley, Michael Taylor and Reginald Clemons, Richard Clay, Jeffrey Ferguson, William Rousan, Russell Bucklew, John Middleton and John Winfield.

April 2008: The U.S. Supreme Court throws out Taylor v. Crawford, upholding Missouri's written protocol and ending the legal hold on executions.

The Missouri Attorney General requests execution dates be set for Earl Ringo, Martin Link and Mark Christeson. June 2008: The Missouri Supreme Court sets a July execution for John Middleton.

May 2009: The Missouri Supreme Court sets an execution for Dennis Skillicorn who is then executed in the same month, making him the only person to be executed in Missouri since 2005.

The Missouri Supreme Court sets a June execution for Reginald Clemons.

June 2009: The 8th District Court of Appeals in St. Louis stays Clemons' execution while Clemons vs. Crawford is being decided.

January 2010: Missouri Attorney General requests execution dates for Allen Nicklasson and Joseph Franklin.

June 2010: The U.S. Supreme Court throws out Clemons v. Crawford. The case claimed Missouri's past hiring of incompetent or unqualified execution team members, and failure to properly train them, posed constitutional problems.

The Missouri Attorney General claims any uncertainty over the lethal injection in Missouri has been cleared up.

August 2010: Missouri Supreme Court sets an October execution for Roderick Nunley.

September 2010: Hospira, the only U.S. manufacturer of the lethal injection anesthetic sodium thiopental announces it is out of the drug until as late as March 2011 and states its opposition to the drug being used in lethal injections.

October 2010: Roderick Nunley is granted a stay of execution because he was not tried by a jury.

December 2010: The Missouri Supreme Court sets a January 12 execution for Richard Clay.

(source: Columbia Missourian)


Missouri's supply lethal injection drug expires next month

by Meghan Lane
Updated: 01.29.2011 at 12:55 PM

JEFFERSON CITY -- Missouri is just one of the 35 states with capital punishment that an Associated Press review found found to be running out run out of a key lethal injection drug or already have.

The drug called sodium thiopental, the first of three drugs used in executions as an anesthetic that renders condemned inmates unconscious has become so scarce over the past year that a few states have had to postpone executions.

The New York Times reported the sole American manufacturer of an anesthetic widely used in lethal injections, Hospira Inc., said Friday that it would no longer produce the drug.

The manufacturer planned to resume production of the drug in Italy, but Italian authorities will not permit export of the drug if it might be used for capital punishment.

In many states, adopting a new protocol for lethal injections requires formal proposals, public comment and often challenges in court -- a process that can take months or more, Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center told the New York Times.

Execution delays could soon become widespread now that the only U.S. company that makes the drug has decided to stop producing it.

Switching to another drug could be tough for some states that have complicated regulations.

Others are beginning to see legal challenges about whether a switch or the use of expired drugs could violate inmates' constitutional rights.

Earlier this month the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri announced that the Missouri Department of Corrections had a dwindling supply of sodium thiopental, and that what they had on hand was nearing its expiration date.

Communications director for the Missouri's Department of Corrections Chris Cline told KRCG the state currently has 40 grams of the drug, enough for 4 executions.

However, there's one problem, the 40 grams expire March 1.

Cline said the department is "looking at all options that are available to us."

Right now Missouri has only one execution scheduled: 47-year old Martin Link is set to be executed on Feb. 9.

Link is convicted of killing an 11-year-old St. Louis girl twenty years ago.

What's your opinion on the shortage?  What do you think should happen?

(The Associated Press Contributed to this story)


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