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Death Penalty

Lawyer Seeks Probe After Execution Using Animal Sedative Goes Awry

Posted Jun 27, 2011 5:30 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A lawyer is raising questions about an animal sedative used as a replacement drug in lethal injections after his client’s execution went awry on Thursday night.

The Georgia inmate, Roy Blankenship, was executed with the use of pentobarbital, substituted because of a shortage of the sedative sodium thiopental, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. A sedative is the first of three drugs used in executions.

“According to witnesses,” the story says, “Blankenship grimaced, jerked, lunged from side-to-side, gasped and appeared to yell out during the three minutes immediately after the first drug was administered.”

Lawyer Brian Kammer has asked Georgia’s chief justice to stop executions until an investigation determines what went wrong. He has also asked the Department of Corrections for an independent investigation.

Pentobarbital is used in animal euthanasia and is untested in humans, according to the Danish company that makes the drug.

Prior coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Supreme Court Allows Execution of Texas Inmate to Proceed”

ABAJournal.com: “For 2nd Time in a Week, Supremes Stay Execution; Inmate Claims Innocence, Argues Lethal Drug Choice”

ABAJournal.com: “There’s ‘Strong Evidence’ Sedative for Lethal Injection Was Illegally Imported, Nebraska Lawyer Says”

ABAJournal.com: “Okla. Inmate Executed with Sedative Used in Animal Euthanasia”

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