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States to try new ways of executing prisoners. Their latest idea? Opioids.

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The synthetic painkiller fentanyl has been the driving force behind the nation’s opioid epidemic, killing tens of thousands of Americans last year in overdoses. Now two states want to use the drug’s powerful properties for a new purpose: to execute prisoners on death row.
As Nevada and Nebraska push for the country’s first fentanyl-assisted executions, doctors and death penalty opponents are fighting those plans. They have warned that such an untested use of fentanyl could lead to painful, botched executions, comparing the use of it and other new drugs proposed for lethal injection to human experimentation.
States are increasingly pressed for ways to carry out the death penalty because of problems obtaining the drugs they long have used, primarily because pharmaceutical companies are refusing to supply their drugs for executions.
The situation has led states such as Florida, Ohio and Oklahoma to turn to novel drug combinations for executions. Mississippi legalized nitrogen gas this s…

Federal appeal denied for Tennessee’s only woman on death row

Christa Pike
Christa Pike
Christa Pike was convicted and sentenced to death in the 1995 death of Colleen Slemmer.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – After more than two decades on death row, a federal court has denied to overturn Christa Pike’s conviction and death penalty sentence.

A federal court ruled that Pike doesn’t have grounds for a federal appeal and that she has exhausted Tennessee state appeals. 

 Pike was convicted in the 1995 death of Colleen Slemmer, 19. 

Prosecutors say Pike tortured Slemmer, beat her to death and then kept a piece of her skull as a trophy.

Pike appealed her conviction and death penalty sentence in 2012. Slemmer’s mother has been fighting to get back the rest of her remains, which are being held as evidence, for a proper burial.

A spokesperson for the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office says Pike has completed all appeals at the state level.

Source: wate.com, March 10, 2016

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