Inmate Is First Executed in Texas With Single Drug

State changes lethal injection formula used since 1982
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2012 2:00 AM CDT
Inmate Is First Executed in Texas With Single Drug
This photo provided by the Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice shows Yokamon Hearn.   (AP Photo/Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice, File)

America's most prolific death penalty state has executed its first inmate using one drug instead of three. Yokamon Hearn, 33, was killed with a single dose of pentobarbital, which had been part of a three-drug mixture used for executions before shortages of the other drugs arose. Ohio, Arizona, Idaho, and Washington have already switched to using a single dose of the drug, which is more commonly used to put down dogs and cats, and Georgia announced this week that it also plans to make the switch, reports AP.

Hearn received the death penalty for the 1998 murder of a Dallas stockbroker who was carjacked and shot in the head 10 times. He was within an hour of being executed in 2004 when a federal court agreed that his claims of mental impairment due to fetal alcohol syndrome should be reviewed, an avenue of appeal that the assistant district attorney who prosecuted him claimed "would be a free pass for anyone whose parents drank." Hearn "had a tough background, but a lot of people have tough backgrounds, and work their way out and don't fill someone's head with 10 bullets," he said. (More Texas stories.)

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