death penalty

Death Penalty
7:27 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Federal Judge Denies Stay Of Execution For Missouri Inmate

Credit (via Flickr/steakpinball)

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.

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Death Penalty
10:59 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Three Missouri Offices Are Responsible For Controversial Execution Plans

Mo. Attorney General Chris Koster (top left), Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon (top right), and Director of the Mo. Department of Corrections George Lombardi (bottom left).
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. 

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Death Penalty
9:03 pm
Sat January 25, 2014

Federal Judges Rule Execution Drug Supplier Can Be Secret, But Documents Point To Likely Identity

(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.

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Death Penalty
12:58 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

New Report Calls Into Question Quality Of Execution Drug

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.

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Death Penalty
12:37 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

In Light Of Investigations, Inmate's Lawyers Ask Courts To Stay Execution

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.

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Death Penalty
9:15 pm
Sun January 12, 2014

Missouri Lawmakers Call For Investigation Into State's Execution Method

(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.

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Politics & Issues
10:54 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Editor's Weekly: Shining Light on Execution Controversies

Credit (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.

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Death Penalty
2:11 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Inmates' Lawyers Ask Mo. Board Of Pharmacy To Act Before Execution

A container of pentobarbital. Missouri's execution drug isn't like this one though, which is made by a manufacturer. The state is instead relying on a compounding pharmacy to emulate the drug.
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.

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St. Louis on the Air
4:01 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

St. Louis News: A Year In Review

(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.

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Death Penalty
12:54 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Investigation: Missouri's Execution Drug Source Raises Legal, Ethical Questions

Credit (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.

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