In a court hearing Wednesday, the Missouri attorney general's office defended the secrecy that just last week Attorney General Chris Koster expressed concerns over.
Inmate John Winfield is scheduled to be executed on June 18 for murdering two people in St. Louis County in 1996. His lawyer, Joe Luby, argued in the Cole County 19th Judicial Circuit Court that the Missouri Department of Corrections is violating the sunshine law by keeping secret the identity of the supplier of the execution drug.
Missouri's attorney general says the state should establish its own laboratory to produce chemicals for use in executions rather than rely on an "uneasy cooperation" with medical professionals and pharmaceutical companies.
Oklahoma, a state with numerous ties to the controversy over Missouri's lethal injection procedures, on Tuesday night botched what the state had hoped would be the first of two successful executions.
According to reports of witnesses, Clayton Lockett writhed in pain on the gurney after he awoke following a doctor's declaration that he was unconscious. He died of an apparent heart attack at 7:06 p.m., more than 40 minutes after the first drug was injected at 6:23 p.m.
Robert Patton, director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, said Lockett's vein had collapsed.
As Missouri prepares for its fifth execution in five months, the Missouri Supreme Court on Friday set the date for another, continuing what could be a record year.
Jeffrey Ferguson is scheduled to die Wednesday for abducting and killing a teenager in St. Charles County in 1989. His attorneys on Thursday filed appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking that the execution be delayed until lower courts can decide if a stay should be granted. Ferguson's attorneys also claim that his conviction was based, in part, on false testimony from an FBI agent.
In Missouri and across the nation, the process of executing criminals is becoming complicated. It’s one of our society’s most somber, and impactful, tasks. But how much do you know about the process? If you don’t know much about it, there may be a reason for that. Two of our colleagues at in public radio have investigated and found that the process is shrouded in secrecy. Meantime, four people have been executed in Missouri in as many months, after years of less frequent executions.
Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 4:51 pm
An Oklahoma compounding pharmacy has supplied Missouri with the drug it's used three times to execute inmates, despite the fact that the pharmacy isn't licensed here.
Now the Apothecary Shoppe is attempting to become licensed in Missouri.
According to records obtained by St. Louis Public Radio, the Oklahoma Board of Pharmacy received a letter from the Apothecary Shoppe on Jan. 13, when the pharmacy said it was planning on registering in both Missouri and Texas.
The attorney for Missouri death row inmate Herbert Smulls, scheduled to die by injection on Jan. 29, has asked a federal court for a 60-day stay of execution over concerns about the execution drug.
Attorney Cheryl Pilate filed the motion for a stay on Tuesday with U.S. District Court in Jefferson City. A spokeswoman for Attorney General Chris Koster says the state will respond by Friday, but otherwise declined comment.
Death penalty opponents are using the 25th anniversary of Missouri's resumption of capital punishment to highlight their desire to halt executions.
George Mercer was executed on Jan. 6, 1989, for the 1978 rape and slaying of waitress Karen Keeten in the Kansas City area. Mercer's execution was Missouri's first after a nationwide moratorium on capital punishment was lifted in 1976.
Since then, Missouri has executed 70 inmates.
Death penalty opponents planned a news conference Monday at the Missouri Capitol.
Missouri has put two people to death since last November, with another execution scheduled for late January. St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon's Chris McDaniel and Véronique LaCapra have been looking into the state's secretive and controversial lethal injection process. They've discovered the state may be ignoring its own laws in carrying out the death penalty.
Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 1:11 pm
In an investigation spanning the past few months, St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon has discovered the state of Missouri may be ignoring its own laws in carrying out the death penalty by buying execution drugs from a pharmacy not licensed to do business in Missouri.
Use of the death penalty declined nationally in 2013, but the punishment has seen a resurgence in Missouri.
The Death Penalty Information Center on Thursday released a report showing that 39 people were executed in the U.S. in 2013, just the second time in 19 years that fewer than 40 were put to death.
Missouri has executed two men in the past month — Joseph Paul Franklin on Nov. 29 and Allen Nicklasson on Dec. 11. The executions were the first in Missouri since 2011, and the most in a single year since five in 2005.
A month ago, St. Louis Public Radio reported on the questionable manner in which the state of Missouri got ahold of its potential execution drug. Now Missouri has a new plan to go ahead with two upcoming executions, but the process is anything but open.
Missouri death row inmate Joseph Franklin has an unexpected advocate for the stoppage of his planned execution.
Hustler publisher Larry Flynt and the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri Foundation filed a motion in federal court to have documentation concerning Franklin’s planned execution unsealed.
Flynt was paralyzed from the waist down in 1978 after being shot by Franklin in Georgia in retaliation for Hustler containing an interracial photo spread. Franklin is facing execution for committing multiple murders.
On Tuesday, the department announced that it had chosen a new execution drug: pentobarbital. But the state also made a change that will end up making it harder, if not impossible, to know where the drugs come from.
Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 4:30 pm
On Tuesday, the Missouri Department of Corrections announced that it had selected a new drug for upcoming executions: pentobarbital.
The change comes following criticism of the questionable methods Missouri had obtained the drug it had previously planned to use, as well as concern that its use could harm hospitals throughout the U.S. The state had planned to use a common anesthetic named propofol, which has never been used to carry out an execution.