Death Penalty

Missouri Has A New Execution Drug Supplier

Feb 19, 2014
via Flickr/Nottingham Vet School

Although the state's previous drug supplier says it will not supply for the next execution, Missouri says it's found another willing pharmacy.

On Monday, the Apothecary Shoppe in Oklahoma reached a settlement with an inmate who had sued the pharmacy. Although the terms were confidential, the pharmacy agreed to not sell to Missouri for its upcoming execution.

In a court filing Wednesday evening, the state said inmate Michael Taylor was trying to cut off the supply of the state's execution drug.

Steakpinball | Flickr

Missouri's recent executions have sparked controversy lately -- not just for the secrecy and the source of the execution drug but also for the state's speed in carrying them out.

The Department of Corrections has carried out three executions in as many months. In all those cases, the inmate still had appeals pending at the time the state executed him.

via Google Maps

After a lawsuit filed by a death-row inmate, the Apothecary Shoppe in Oklahoma has agreed to not sell to Missouri for its upcoming execution.

Last week, a federal judge ordered the pharmacy to hold off on selling the drug to Missouri until further review. Before that could take place, however, the pharmacy and the inmate came to an agreement.

via Google Maps

Update: Governor says the state is prepared to proceed regardless.

Update: Pharmacy hopes documents will be secret

A federal judge has ordered an Oklahoma-based pharmacy not to sell the Missouri Department of Corrections its execution drug, at least until a hearing scheduled for next week.

A Missouri inmate scheduled to be executed Feb. 26 sued the pharmacy, hoping to stop the supply of the drug that would soon be injected into him.

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio.

Despite the controversy over how Missouri has carried out its past three executions, a state House hearing on Monday revealed little that hasn't already been reported:

via Flickr/Nottingham Vet School

An Oklahoma compounding pharmacy has supplied Missouri with the drug it's used three times to execute inmates, despite the fact that the pharmacy isn't licensed here.

Now the Apothecary Shoppe is attempting to become licensed in Missouri.

According to records obtained by St. Louis Public Radio, the Oklahoma Board of Pharmacy received a letter from the Apothecary Shoppe on Jan. 13, when the pharmacy said it was planning on registering in both Missouri and Texas.

via Flickr/Nottingham Vet School

Chris McDaniel this week continued his string of significant reports on Missouri’s execution procedure. With painstaking work over several months, Chris and Veronique LaCapra have managed to develop a clear picture of a procedure that officials would rather keep secret. Among the key points they have reported:

(via Wikimedia Commons/California Department of Corrections)

Thank you for joining us for the live chat, which has now concluded. The full archive of the chat is below.

The controversy surrounding the drug now used for executions in Missouri is not confined to the Show Me state. Louisiana is wrangling with a similar situation.

via Flickr/katieharbath

Updated at 1:41 a.m., Thurs., Jan. 30

Missouri inmate Herbert Smulls was put to death late Wednesday night after the U.S. Supreme Court removed two stays. He was pronounced dead at 10:20 p.m.

It was the state's third execution in as many months. The pace of one a month is a sharp uptick from recent years past, when the state has had problems getting a hold of execution drugs.

Steakpinball | Flickr

On Monday evening, a federal judge denied Missouri inmate Herbert Smulls' request to halt his execution. On Tuesday evening, Gov. Jay Nixon denied his request for clemency.

Barring some unforeseen change, he will be put to death early Wednesday morning.

Smulls will be injected with a drug made by the Apothecary Shoppe in Oklahoma, which isn't licensed to sell in Missouri. The state has argued the drug is safe, however, by pointing to a report by a testing laboratory.

Lombardi: Flickr/Mo. Dept. of Public Safety Koster: via Chris Koster campaign ad Nixon: UPI/Bill Greenblatt, Capitol: St. Louis Public Radio and The Beacon.

For the death penalty to be carried out in Missouri, it requires three agencies in particular to work in sync. The Department of Corrections performs the executions. The governor appoints the head of the Department of Corrections and can offer clemency to death row inmates. The attorney general defends the state when the execution method is challenged.

Each agency has found itself in the spotlight recently as Missouri's execution procedure has come under scrutiny. 

(via Wikimedia Commons/California Department of Corrections)

Late Friday night, a group of federal judges found that the compounding pharmacy making Missouri's execution drug can remain secret, but new emails point to one pharmacy as the likely supplier.

via Flickr/Nottingham Vet School

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.

Flickr |neil conway

Updated 1/14/14 4:43 pm with news of scheduled hearing and Speaker Tim Jones' response.

Several state lawmakers are calling for an investigation into how the Missouri Department of Corrections has carried out executions in the previous months.

gurney
(via Wikimedia Commons/Noahudlis)

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.

via Flickr/Nottingham Vet School

Lawyers representing death row inmates have filed a complaint with the Missouri Board of Pharmacy, citing St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon’s investigation from earlier this week.

On Tuesday, we reported that the Department of Corrections has been obtaining its execution drug from an out-of-state compounding pharmacy that isn't licensed to do business in Missouri. Under normal circumstances, the pharmacist could be guilty of a felony.

(via Flickr / DanielSTL, year added by St. Louis Public Radio)

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.

(via Wikimedia Commons/California Department of Corrections)

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.

As we’ve reported in previous months, a shortage of willing drug suppliers led Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to direct the state to adopt a controversial new execution method.

Every week, St. Louis Public Radio’s Chris McDaniel joins the St. Louis Beacon’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum to talk about the week’s politics.

James Cridland via Flickr

The state of Missouri carried out its first execution in nearly three years last week, after a delay caused by the need to develop new execution protocols.

(Missouri Department of Corrections)

Update 7:52 a.m 11/20/13:

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.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has refused to halt the execution of white supremacist serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin, calling his crime in Missouri a "cowardly and calculated shooting."

Nixon's office announced the decision Monday afternoon.

(via Wikimedia Commons/California Department of Corrections)

A month ago, St. Louis Public Radio reported on the questionable manner in which the state of Missouri got ahold of its potential execution drug. Now Missouri has a new plan to go ahead with two upcoming executions, but the process is anything but open.

Updated 11/14/13 3:24 p.m.

(Veronique LaCapra/St. Louis Public Radio)

On Friday, Governor Jay Nixon postponed the execution of an inmate that was set for later this month. That execution was going to be carried out using propofol, a common anesthetic that has never been used in a lethal injection before. So why the change in plans?

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Last updated 1:30 p.m. Will be updated further.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has responded to the recent controversy surrounding the execution drug propofol by halting the execution of a Missouri inmate, and asking that a different form of lethal injection be used.

Here's Nixon's full statement: 

Mo. Dept of Corrections via sunshine request.

Updated 10/9/2013 6:42

The Missouri Department of Corrections has announced that it will be returning some of its propofol to its supplier, as the company requested almost a year ago.

But questions remain on how the state obtained the drug.

Propofol is a widely-used medical anesthetic, but the Mo. Dept. of Corrections is planning to use it for lethal injection. Missouri's Oct. 23 and Nov. 20 executions would be the first time the drug has ever been used for capital punishment.

(via Wikimedia Commons/Noahudlis)

Updated at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, October 9, to correct errors in our interview.

In the next two months, the state of Missouri plans to use the drug propofol to perform two executions, despite opposition from the European Union, the Missouri Society of Anesthesiologists and the American Civil Liberties Union.

(via Wikimedia Commons/Noahudlis)

The American Civil Liberties Union hopes to block two executions in Missouri this fall by seeking to disqualify the anesthesiologist used by the Department of Corrections.

Jeffrey Mittman is Executive Director of the ACLU of Eastern Missouri.  He says the American Board of Anesthesiology has recently adopted the same standards used by the American Medical Association, meaning that they cannot participate in ending someone's life.

Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

Attorney General Chris Koster says Missouri may have to resort to using the gas chamber to carry out death sentences as an "unintended consequence" of the state Supreme Court's refusal to set execution dates.

Executions have been on hold in Missouri since the state Supreme Court has declined to set execution dates. The court says execution dates would be "premature" until a federal legal challenge is resolved regarding the use of the drug propofol as Missouri's new execution method.

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