Mississippi criminal-justice officials are planning to administer a new drug in executing three men at the end of April, a law enforcement source told the Public Safety Examiner on Wednesday.
The state plans to use the powerful sedative pentobarbital a drug used to "put down" large animals. Currently Mississippi uses sodium thiopental to carry out death sentences.
Part of the reason for the switch is the belief it is a more humane drug to use in executing criminals, and part is the fact that the European Union has continued pressuring a United States company to cease production of sodium thiopental.
According to the U.S. Justice Department, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas, have already switched to pentobarbital in executing those sentenced to death. Other states are expected to follow the trend.
In March, Georgia’s use of sodium thiopental was disputed by death row inmates and anti-death penalty activists when prison officials released documents showing the state obtained the drug from the United Kingdom firm Link Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Archimedes Pharma Limited.
The drug was administered to Emmanuel Hammond in January. Hammond was a 45-year-old man convicted for the 1988 shotgun slaying of an Atlanta preschool teacher. His attorneys claimed in court documents the drug came from a "fly-by-night supplier operating from the back of a driving school in England." They claimed the drug was likely counterfeit. The U.S. Supreme Court, as well as lower courts, rejected Hammond’s argument.
The Mississippi Attorney General James Hood requested the state’s highest court to allow the scheduling of three executions for April 20, April 27 and May 4. The first to be executed would be Robert Simon, who was sentenced to die by lethal injection for the vicious killings of a married couple and their 12-year-old son in 1990.
Hood also requested execution dates be set for Rodney Gray, convicted of murdering an 80-year-old woman in 1994, and Benny Joe Stevens, sentenced to death for the 1999 murders of four people.
Mississippi Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps said the state has ordered the new lethal injection drug and already began practicing for the expected executions.
Jim Kouri, CPP, formerly Fifth Vice-President, is currently a Board Member of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, an editor for ConservativeBase.com, and he’s a columnist for Examiner.com. In addition, he’s a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.
He’s former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He’s also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He’s a news writer and columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he’s syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc.
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