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Judge bars Texas executions until inmates' lawyers given information on drugs to be used

Lawyers for two men scheduled for execution in the next week in Texas must be given information on the drugs to be used, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
By Frances Burns   |   Updated April 2, 2014 at 2:28 PM

Lawyers for two men scheduled for execution in the next week in Texas must be given information on the drugs to be used, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore's decision blocks the executions of Tommy Lynn Sells and Ramiro Hernandez-Llanas. Sells, 49, was scheduled to die Thursday and Hernandez-Llanas next Wednesday.

Sells, who claims to have killed dozens of people, was scheduled to be put to death Thursday for stabbing Kaylene "Katy" Harris, 13, in Del Rio, Texas, on Dec. 31, 1999. Hernandez-Llanas, 44, was convicted of the 1997 killing of a Kerrville rancher who had allowed him to live on his property.

Texas officials said they are likely to appeal the ruling.

Death-penalty states have been scrambling to find execution drugs because many pharmaceutical companies now refuse to supply them. Texas planned to use pentobarbitol, a sedative, to kill Sells and Hernandez-Llanas.

Lawsuits have been filed in a number of states by inmates denied information on the suppliers of death penalty drugs. State officials say they need to protect the compounding pharmacies they use from threats and potential violence.

[Houston Chronicle]

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