Missouri is the first state in the nation to change its protocol for executing prisoners from a three-drug cocktail to the single drug Propofol. The switch is due to a shortage of a key drug, which has stalled lethal injections across the country.
Other states may eventually follow Missouri’s lead, but as St. Louis Public Radio’s Joseph Leahy reports, the drug known recently for killing pop star Michael Jackson is no silver bullet either.
This gurney is used to perform executions at a facility in Terre Haute, Ind. by lethal injection. 21 Missouri death-row inmates have sued the director of the state's Corrections Department over the decision to use a new drug in executions.
Several people testified in favor of the bill, including Kevin Green, a California man who spent 16 years in prison on charges that he raped his wife and killed their unborn baby. He was eventually exonerated after DNA evidence showed another man had committed the crime. Green says doing hard time in prison is a harsher punishment than being executed.
Legislation has been filed in the Missouri House that would abolish the death penalty.
If the bill becomes law, any pending executions in Missouri would be halted, and all inmates sentenced to death would be re-sentenced to life without probation or parole. It’s sponsored by State Representative Penny Hubbard (D, St. Louis). She says she doesn’t believe that capital punishment is an effective deterrent.