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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…

Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles turns down John Battaglia's clemency petition

John Battaglia
John Battaglia
HUNTSVILLE — The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles has turned down a clemency petition from a Dallas man set to die this week for fatally shooting his two young daughters nearly 15 years ago.

Board spokesman Raymond Estrada says the board voted 7-0 Monday, refusing to recommend that John David Battaglia’s death sentence be commuted to life in prison and denying his request for a reprieve from his scheduled Wednesday evening execution in Huntsville.

Battaglia, 60, was convicted and condemned for the May 2001 slayings of his daughters, 9-year-old Faith and 6-year-old Liberty, at his Dallas apartment. 

The girls’ mother, Battaglia’s ex-wife, was on the phone with him and heard the gunshots and cry of the older daughter.

Battaglia still has appeals in the federal courts seeking to block his punishment.

Source: The Associated Press, March 28, 2016


Fort Worth Man On Death Row Loses Supreme Court Appeal

HOUSTON (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to review an appeal from a Fort Worth man on death row for smothering an 89-year-old man and robbing him of some $6,000 12 years ago.

The high court, without comment, ruled Monday in the case of 36-year-old Tilon Carter. His appeals have focused on whether his Tarrant County trial attorneys were deficient and whether faulty instructions were given to trial jurors.

Carter was condemned for the 2004 robbery and slaying of James Tomlin. Evidence showed Tomlin, a retired Bell Helicopter worker, kept cash in containers scattered around his home.

Prosecutors portrayed Carter as a longtime criminal and also tied him to a fatal shooting at a drug house.

He does not yet have an execution date.

Source: The Associated Press, March 28, 2016

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