Minutes before he was scheduled to be executed, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin granted Richard Glossip a last minute 37 day stay of execution due to new questions regarding Oklahoma’s lethal injection drugs.
“Fallin said the stay was to address legal questions raised today about Oklahoma’s execution protocols. She said the stay would allow time for the Department of Corrections to determine whether a lethal injection drug — potassium acetate — to be used in the state’s three-drug protocol is compliant with the state’s execution procedures.
‘Last minute questions were raised today about Oklahoma’s execution protocol and the chemicals used for lethal injection,' Fallin said in a statement. 'After consulting with the attorney general and the Department of Corrections, I have issued a 37 day stay of execution while the state addresses those questions and ensures it is complying fully with the protocols approved by federal courts.’
Glossip’s new execution date is set for Friday, Nov. 6.
At issue in Fallin’s stay is not the sedative, midazolam, that was the issue before the U.S. Supreme Court this year. Instead, it deals with the third drug in the protocol — the drug that kills. In three-drug protocols, the first drug sedates the inmate, the second drug paralyzes them, and the third drug stops their heart.
States that still use three-drug protocols use potassium chloride as the third drug, which is what Oklahoma’s protocol calls for. For reasons currently unknown, Oklahoma only obtained a different drug: Potassium acetate.
The DOC director, Robert Patton, said 'we don’t know' if the wrong drug was obtained by accident or not. Patton told reporters that the DOC had requested for a stay from Fallin to answer questions about the drug’s protocol.”
The stay from Governor Fallin came after Glossip's appeals to the state courts were denied and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to halt the execution.
Richard Glossip was sentenced to death in 2004 for the 1997 murder-for-hire plot of Barry Van Treese in Oklahoma City. Justin Sneed was convicted of the actual killing of Van Treese and is serving a life sentence without parole.
Glossip, 51, has continued to maintain his innocence after 17 years in prison.
The death penalty causes unnecessary severe trauma to correctional officers, victim family members and the family members of those who are scheduled to be executed. It does not bring closure to murder victim families and often, prolongs their suffering. It fails to deter crime, does not allow for the possibility of change, and it risks the execution of innocent people.
We must end this unjust, cruel and unusual punishment now.
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