OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) – An Oklahoma court on Wednesday set execution dates for three inmates who lost a battle to have the U.S. Supreme Court put their capital punishment on hold because of problems they claimed with the state’s lethal injection mix.
The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals set Sept. 16 for the execution of Richard Glossip, Oct. 7 for Benjamin Cole and Oct. 28 for John Grant, a court clerk said.
Glossip arranged for his employer to be beaten to death. Cole killed his 9-month-old daughter. Grant stabbed a correctional worker to death.
The attorney general had asked the court to resume executions as soon as August.
The state suspended all executions after the troubled April 2014 lethal injection of convicted murderer Clayton Lockett.
He could be seen twisting on the gurney after death chamber staff failed to place the intravenous line properly. The execution was called off but he died about 45 minutes after it started because of lethal injection chemicals that had accumulated in his tissue.
Lawyers for the three inmates facing execution argued that a drug in the state’s lethal injection mix, a sedative named midazolam, cannot achieve the level of unconsciousness required for surgery, making it unsuitable for executions.
On June 29, the Supreme Court found the drug did not violate the U.S. Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment, a ruling that provoked a caustic debate among the justices about the death penalty in America.
Florida, which has used the drug in 11 lethal injections, had placed a hold on executions while the case was before the court. It plans to resume executions soon.
The drug is also used in Ohio and Arizona, which do not have any executions currently planned for the rest of the year, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, which monitors U.S. capital punishment.
Source: Reuters, July 8, 2015