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.
On Tuesday, the department announced that it had chosen a new execution drug: pentobarbital. But the state also made a change that will end up making it harder, if not impossible, to know where the drugs come from.
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?
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.
Governor Jay Nixon said Missouri will be moving forward with two executions later this year, in spite of objections from the American Civil Liberties Union and the European Union.
The executions could have a very real impact on hospitals throughout the United States, as the European Union considers possible export limits of the drug as part of its anti-capital punishment policies. Most propofol comes from Europe, where its leading manufacturer only wants it used for medical purposes.