Missouri says it's ready to execute Taylor following proper protocol

Feb. 19, 2014 at 10:22 AM
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ST. LOUIS, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- The Missouri Corrections Department said the execution of Michael Taylor was on even though it lacks a sedative that is part of the lethal injection cocktail.

On Monday, an Oklahoma pharmacy agreed not to provide Missouri corrections officials with the sedative pentobarbital and said it hadn't already provided the drug. But Tuesday, a Missouri Corrections Department told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in an email that Missouri was "prepared to carry out the execution ... following the established execution protocol" that covers using pentobarbital.

The department spokesman did not tell the Post-Dispatch specifically whether the state had pentobarbital on hand. In court documents, Taylor's attorneys had said they don't believe Missouri has a supply of the drug.

Taylor is sentenced to die Feb. 26 for the 1989 kidnapping, rape and murder of 15-year-old Ann Harrison of Kansas City.

The Post-Dispatch said there was an indication the department had a backup plan that involved using the sedative midazolam and the painkiller hydromorphone. But a Corrections Department official has acknowledged that the two-drug combo isn't part of the established execution protocol.

Taylor's lawyers have asked the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Missouri to stop his execution.

"Though Missouri has indicated it has midazolam and hydromorphone, its execution protocol does not permit administration of those drugs," the defense said. "Even if it did, Taylor would warrant a stay because those drugs have already inflicted unconstitutional pain and suffering in an execution and the states using them have thus temporarily halted executions."

"In any event, switching the protocol or the pentobarbital supplier now -- a week before the scheduled execution -- would violate Taylor's right to due process of law."

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