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Supreme Court issues last-minute stay for Missouri death row inmate

The court will spend Wednesday reviewing Russell Bucklew's death sentence.
By Matt Bradwell   |   May 21, 2014 at 10:55 AM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, May 21 (UPI) --Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito ordered authorities in Missouri to postpone the execution of Russell Bucklew just an hour before he was to die by lethal injection late Tuesday night.

The court will likely spend Wednesday considering Bucklew's challenge of his execution, which he says should not go through due to weakened and malformed blood vessels. Poor circulation could prevent the execution drug sedative from working on Bucklew, forcing him to endure a prolonged and painful death.

"I'm sick about it not working on me. I'm afraid that it's going to turn me into a vegetable, that I'd be brain dead," Bucklew said in an interview with the Guardian. "You saw what happened down in Oklahoma. I'm the next guy up – am I gonna get all screwed up here? Are they gonna screw it up?"

If Bucklew's sentence is carried out, he will be the first person executed in the United States since Oklahoma's botched attempt to kill Clayton Lockett, which ended with the felon dying on gurney after surviving for 45 minutes following the injection.

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