MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

April 7, 2014

2 state inmates ask appeals court to delay executions


— OKLAHOMA CITY (AP)  — Two Oklahoma death row inmates asked an appeals court Monday to delay their executions until a lawsuit challenging the state’s refusal to reveal where it gets its execution drugs can be settled.

Lawyers for Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner filed the request with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals. The request argues that although the state Department of Corrections has revealed what drugs it plans to use in the executions, the agency has yet to identify the source of the drugs.

Lockett is set to be executed April 22, and Warner on April 29.

In a letter to the inmates’ attorneys on Friday, the state reiterated that it would be using the three-drug combination of midazolam, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride during the lethal injections.

But the state said the midazolam would be the only drug from a compounding pharmacy, a change from its previous plan to use two compounded drugs.

The name of the compounding pharmacy wasn’t disclosed.

“(The state has) advised Plaintiffs only that they will be using a novel execution method, involving a drug combination never before used in an Oklahoma execution, in dosages never before used in any execution in this country, and including compounded medicines from undisclosed sources,” the attorneys wrote. “Plaintiffs have no assurance that this will be the last change Defendants decide to make, apparently in their unilateral discretion, as Plaintiffs’ executions approach.”

Florida has used the same three-drug combination in past executions, though with a higher dosage of midazolam. Oklahoma prison officials said they consulted with experts who said a lower dose of midazolam was appropriate.

Oklahoma adopted a new, five-option execution procedure on March 21.

Lawyers for the inmates say that leaves them inadequate time to evaluate the newly introduced methods to ensure that their clients will not die in an unconstitutionally cruel or unusual manner.