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Supreme Court stays 3 Oklahoma executions pending ruling on midalozam

By Danielle Haynes
Supreme Court stays 3 Oklahoma executions pending ruling on midalozam
The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed the executions of three Oklahoma men pending its ruling on the state’s use of midazolam in its lethal injection protocol. File photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI. | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed the executions of three Oklahoma men pending its ruling on the state's use of midazolam in its lethal injection protocol.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt requested the court stay the executions until it rules on the constitutionality of the use of the sedative midazolam in combination with two other drugs in executions.

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He said he doesn't expect the court to rule against the use of the drug but he supports a stay.

"It is hereby ordered that petitioners' executions using midazolam are stayed pending final disposition of this case," the Supreme Court order said.

The court announced last week it intended to rule on the use of the drug in response to a petition put forth by four death row inmates who said it constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. One of those inmates, Charles Warner, was executed last week in Oklahoma after the Supreme Court declined to stay his execution.

Warner's execution was Oklahoma's first since the botched execution of Clayton Lockett in April. After receiving an injection including midazolam, Lockett had convulsions and reportedly tried to speak and lift his head even after doctors declared him unconscious. It took him 43 minutes to die after the injection.

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After Warner was injected with the drug, he said, "my body is on fire."

Of the three remaining petitioners, Richard E. Glossip was scheduled to be executed Thursday, John M. Grant on Feb. 19 and Benjamin R. Cole Sr. on March 5.

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