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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…

Execution set for July 14 would be the 6th in Georgia this year

John Wayne Conner
John Wayne Conner
Conner was sentenced to die 34 years ago

John Wayne Conner was scheduled Friday to become the sixth man executed in Georgia this year - a record number since the death penalty was reinstated here 40 years ago.

The time for his lethal injection for the 1992 murder of a drinking buddy was set for 7 p.m. on July 14.

Conner's scheduled execution comes as the pace of executions in Georgia is increasing. Yet, death sentences are being rendered in Georgia murder trials less often.

At this time, Conner is the only death row inmate who has exhausted his appeals, though several others are nearing the end of legal recourse.

On Jan. 9, 198, Conner, Beverly Bates and J.T. White went to a party in Eastman, Ga., but when it was over they weren't ready to call it a night.

So they returned to Conner's house to keep drinking.

But Conner, then 26, and White, 29, needed more bourbon. They walked to a neighbor's house in hopes of getting a ride to the liquor store but the neighbor refused, so they started walking back to Conner's house.

On the way, Conner told investigators, White "made a statement about he would like to go to bed with my girlfriend and so I got mad and we got into a fight and fought all the way over to the oak tree and I hit him with a quart bottle."

White ran and Conner chased him. The fight continued in a ditch by the road.

"He was swinging, trying to get up, or swinging at me to try to hit me," Conner told investigators. "There was a stick right there ... and I grabbed it and went to beating him with it."

Conner left White for dead in a ditch and went home to wake Bates. He told her they had to leave town because he thought he had killed White.

But he also needed to make sure, so they drove back to the ditch where White and Conner had fought.

Bates told investigators she heard a thud moments after Conner disappeared into the woods. He came back to the car, telling her he was sure. "Let's go," he said.

Conner, now 60, and Bates were picked up the next day in Butts County, which is where Georgia's death row is located.

The last time Georgia carried out an execution was on April 27, when Daniel Anthony Lucas died by lethal injection 18 years and four days after he murdered Steven Moss and his 2 children in their Jones County home.

This year Georgia has also executed Joshua Bishop, Kenneth Fults, Travis Hittson and Brandon Astor Jones.

The only other time Georgia has put to death as many as 5 people in a year was in 1987.

Source: myajc.com, June 24, 2016

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