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Oklahoma Poised To Use New Drug Mixture In Double Execution

A long legal and political battle in Oklahoma is scheduled to culminate this evening with a double execution.

The state is poised to execute Clayton D. Lockett, 38, and Charles F. Warner, 46, using a relatively new combination of drugs.

Over the past few months, the United States has seen a flurry of legal challenges to death sentences, because drug companies, citing political and physical threats, have stopped supplying states with traditional execution drugs.


States, in turn, have been using novel combinations for executions and have refused to reveal the names of their suppliers because they say doing so would jeopardize the relationship.

As we've reported, a lower-court judge in Oklahoma ordered the state to delay the executions because of the uncertainty surrounding the drugs. That case worked its way up the court system where there was some tension. The AP reports:

"The case, filed as a civil matter, placed Oklahoma's two highest courts at odds and prompted calls for the impeachment of state Supreme Court justices after the court last week issued a rare stay of execution. The high court later dissolved its stay and dismissed the inmates' claim that they were entitled to know the source of the drugs."By then, Gov. Mary Fallin had weighed into the matter by issuing a stay of execution of her own — a one-week delay in Lockett's execution that resulted in both men being scheduled to die on the same day."

Fallin supported the execution saying the men did not contest their guilt.

"Tonight, in a climate of secrecy and political posturing, Oklahoma intends to kill two death row prisoners using an experimental new drug protocol, including a paralytic, making it impossible to know whether the executions will comport with the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual suffering," Madeline Cohen, who represents Warner said in a statement. She continued:

"Because the issue of secrecy in lethal injection has not been substantively addressed by the courts, Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner will be executed without basic information about the experimental combination of drugs used in their deaths. Despite repeated requests by counsel, the state has refused, again, and again, to provide information about the source, purity, testing and efficacy of the drugs to be used. It's not even known whether the drugs were purchased legally. "

The New York Times adds:

"At 6 p.m. Mr. Lockett, who was convicted of shooting a 19-year-old woman in 1999 and having her buried alive, is due to be led from a holding room, dressed in scrubs and tennis shoes. Several relatives of the victim are scheduled to watch his execution."Two hours later, Mr. Warner, condemned for the rape and murder of an 11-month-old girl in 1997, is to enter the execution chamber. The mother of his victim said she opposed the death penalty and would not attend, but five members of Warner's family are expected to be there."

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