| KANSAS CITY, Mo., April 22
KANSAS CITY, Mo., April 22 Lawyers for a
Missouri death row inmate on Tuesday were seeking to halt his
execution over concerns about the state's secret lethal
injection drugs a day after an Oklahoma court stopped two
executions there over similar issues.
William Rousan, 57, is scheduled for execution at 12:01 a.m.
Central Time (0501 GMT) on Wednesday. Rousan was convicted of
murdering 62-year-old Grace Lewis and her 67-year-old husband,
Charles Lewis, in 1993 in a plot to steal the farm couple's
Attorneys for Rousan have argued that Missouri's secret
execution drugs could cause undue suffering. The Eighth U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday rejected Rousan's appeal, and
the case was headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The action follows a decision issued on Monday by the
Oklahoma Supreme Court that halted the executions of Clayton
Lockett, scheduled for Tuesday, and Charles Warner, scheduled
for April 29. The court said the inmates had the right to have
an opportunity to challenge the secrecy over the drugs Oklahoma
intends to use to put them to death.
Lawyers for death row inmates in several states have raised
a series of arguments against the use of compounded drugs for
executions. Many states have turned to the lightly regulated
compounding pharmacies for supplies because makers of drugs
traditionally used in lethal injections have largely stopped
making them available for executions.
But the lawyers argue that drugs obtained for lethal
injections from compounding pharmacies could lead to undue
suffering, which would amount to cruel and unusual punishment in
violation of the U.S. Constitution. They also say they should
have information about the legitimacy of the supplier, and
details about the purity and potency of the drugs.
Prison officials have rejected those arguments and have been
refusing to reveal where they are getting the drugs.
But Louisiana and Ohio this year have seen executions
delayed because of concerns about suffering that might be caused
by untraditional drug supplies. The family of one inmate
executed in Ohio in January has filed suit against the state
because, according to some witnesses, he took an unusually long
time to die and appeared to be in pain.
Last year, Missouri started classifying compounding
pharmacies as part of its execution team and said the identities
of the pharmacies were thus shielded from public disclosure.
(Reporting by Carey Gillam; Additional reporting by Heide
Brandes in Oklahoma City; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)