Last night, the Missouri Attorney General's office attempted to convince a federal judge that the state's execution drug is pure and potent, by pointing to a testing report done by an anonymous laboratory. But lawyers representing the inmate say that report shows the opposite.
Despite possible or pending investigations into how the state carried out executions by the state auditor, the legislature, two state Boards of Pharmacy, the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. attorney’s office, the state of Missouri has shown no signs of holding off on next week's execution.
Lawyers representing inmate Herbert Smulls are hoping the courts will stay his execution for 60 days, so that some of these investigations can play out. Smulls is scheduled to be put to death on Jan. 29 for the 1991 shooting of Stephen and Florence Honickman.
Missouri's new execution drug continues to spark controversy -- or, to be more precise, several controversies. The death penalty raises ethical, legal and practical questions. And this situation raises another overarching issue as well -- government secrecy.
With just one more day left in the year, we took the opportunity to reflect on the top St. Louis news stories of 2013. St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon's Editor Margaret Wolf Freivogel joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh in a discussion about the top regional news of the year with education reporter Tim Lloyd, political reporters Chris McDaniel and Jo Mannies, and statehouse bureau chief Amanda Vinicky of Illinois Public Radio.
In an investigation spanning the past few months, St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon has discovered the state of Missouri may be ignoring its own laws in carrying out the death penalty by buying execution drugs from a pharmacy not licensed to do business in Missouri.
Missouri carried out the execution of Joseph Paul Franklin a little after 6 a.m. He was put to death after courts overturned Tuesday's stays of execution.
Yesterday, two federal judges issued stays of execution.
The judges took issue with how the state was getting its lethal injection drug from a secret source not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, and questioned whether the inmate was mentally competent to be executed.
The state of Missouri, led by Attorney General Chris Koster, appealed quickly.