Louisiana Stalls Execution to Study New Drug Cocktail

State wants to use combo that caused slow Ohio death
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 4, 2014 12:39 AM CST
The death chamber at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio.    (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)

(Newser) – A last-minute switch of lethal-injection drugs has delayed Louisiana's first execution since 2010. Child killer Christopher Sepulvado was scheduled to die tomorrow but was granted a 90-day stay after the state confirmed it could not obtain the barbiturate pentobarbital, reports the Times-Picayune. The state plans to use a mixture of the sedative midazolam, and hydromorphone, a painkiller—the same combination used in the unusually slow execution of an Ohio inmate last month.

Lawyers for Sepulvado—who was convicted of murdering his 6-year-old stepson in 1992—say they plan to present pharmacologists and other experts to challenge the constitutionality of the new execution cocktail at a hearing in April, USA Today reports. "We have severe questions," one of his lawyers says. "We want to make sure they're giving us all the information they have." Other death penalty states grappling with a shortage of execution drugs are considering bringing back firing squads. (Read more lethal injection stories.)

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