An execution scheduled for Tuesday, October 15, in Florida will use a new, untested drug, despite concerns that it might fail to work as intended and inflict pain on the prisoner,
First Coast Newsreports.
William Happ, 51, will receive a lethal injection “cocktail” of three drugs, the first of which is the new midazolam hydrochloride, typically used by doctors for sedation.
“This is somewhat of an experiment on a living human being,” Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, told First Coast News.
He explained the first drug in the cocktail, supposed to render the inmate unconscious, is crucial. If the prisoner doesn’t completely go under, he could remain awake but not able to speak because the next drug induces paralysis.
If midazolam hydrochloride doesn’t fully work, Happ could suffer, potentially violating the Eighth Amendment — cruel and unusual punishment.
Florida, among other states, has long used the barbiturate pentobarbital in executions. But after a Danish company refused to keep selling it to the U.S., states have gotten desperate for alternatives.
Happ faces the death penalty for the abduction, rape, and murder of Angie Crowley in 1986. This will be state’s sixth and second-to-last execution for 2013, making Florida second only to Texas for the most executions in the country, according to the Detroit Free Press.
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