Feb 3 Louisiana was ordered on Monday to delay
for 90 days the execution of a convicted killer that had been
planned with a mix of the same two drugs that left a condemned
Ohio inmate gasping and convulsing as he was put to death.
Christopher Sepulvado had been scheduled to die on Wednesday
at a Louisiana prison using a combination of the sedative
midazolam and pain killer hydromorphone if the regularly listed
drug pentobarbital was unavailable.
U.S. District Court Judge James Brady ordered the execution
delayed at least until May 4 and set a trial to begin April 7 on
a defense challenge to the constitutionality of the state's
"The stay will allow additional time for review and
responses to outstanding issues related to the execution,"
Louisiana's corrections department said in a statement.
Lawyers for Sepulvado had argued they could not prepare an
adequate appeal if Louisiana did not disclose what drugs it
planned to use for the execution or determine whether he would
face pain and suffering in violation of the U.S. Constitution's
protection against cruel and unusual punishment.
Sepulvado was convicted in 1993 of killing his 6-year-old
stepson and sentenced to death.
Louisiana and other states have been increasingly forced to
look for alternate sources of execution drugs as pharmaceutical
companies raise objections to their products being used for
Some states have turned to compounding pharmacies, which
produce small amounts of drugs by prescription and are not
regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, prompting
defense attorneys to question the quality of the drugs and
whether they could cause undue pain during an execution.
Ohio turned to a combination of midazolam and hydromorphone
never before used in an execution in the United States to put
Dennis McGuire to death in January. Media witnesses said at the
time he appeared to struggle for breath during the
(Reporting by David Bailey in Minneapolis; Editing by Cynthia
Johnston and Lisa Shumaker)