(Adds denial of stay by U.S. Supreme Court, attorney comments)
By Carey Gillam
KANSAS CITY, Mo., April 22 The U.S. Supreme
Court on Tuesday refused to stay the execution of a death row
inmate in Missouri whose attorneys had argued that Missouri's
secrecy around its lethal injection drugs could result in undue
The high court's decision not to take the case comes a day
after the Oklahoma Supreme 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
Eric Butts, an attorney representing Rousan, said there were
no more avenues for appeal. "This is it," said Butts. "They (the
Supreme Court) just are really not interested in the situation."
In their petition to the U.S. Supreme Court, Rousan's
attorneys said the state was planning to use "compounded
pentobarbital prepared by an unknown person in an unknown
manner, without any assurance by an accredited laboratory that
the substance is what the state purports it to be."
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.
But Rousan's attorneys argued that Rousan has a right to
know what he will be injected with.
On Monday, the Oklahoma Supreme Court 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.
On Tuesday, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt filed a
motion in the Oklahoma Supreme Court seeking a rehearing on the
stay of execution order.
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 lawyers for death row inmates in several states have
argued 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.
Louisiana and Ohio, however, have seen executions delayed
this year 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.
(Reporting by Carey Gillam; Additional reporting by Heide
Brandes in Oklahoma City; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and