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Tennessee execution: Billy Ray Irick tortured to death, expert says in new filing

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Editor's note: Reporter Dave Boucher was one of seven state-required media witnesses at Irick's execution. 
Billy Ray Irick felt searing pain akin to torture before he died in a Tennessee prison in August, but steps taken in carrying out his execution blocked signs of suffering, according to a doctor who reviewed information about the lethal injection.
In new court filings entered late Thursday amidst an ongoing legal challenge of Tennessee’s lethal injection protocol, Dr. David Lubarsky said statements from people who witnessed the execution indicated the controversial drug midazolam failed to ensure Irick could not feel pain during his death.
As a result, the death row inmate “experienced the feeling of choking, drowning in his own fluids, suffocating, being buried alive, and the burning sensation caused by the injection of the potassium chloride,” Lubarsky wrote in the filing.
The document also says the state did not follow its own lethal injection protocol, raising questio…

Arkansas governor sets execution dates for 8 inmates

Executions have been set for (top row, from left) Kenneth Williams, Jack Jones Jr., Marcell Williams, Bruce Earl Ward, and (bottom row, from left) Don Davis, Stacey Johnson, Jason McGehee and Ledelle Lee.
Executions have been set for (top row, from left) Kenneth Williams,
Jack Jones Jr., Marcell Williams, Bruce Earl Ward, and (bottom row, from
left) Don Davis, Stacey Johnson, Jason McGehee and Ledelle Lee.
LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has set execution dates for eight death row inmates, even though the state lacks one of three drugs needed to put the men to death.

According to copies of proclamations given to the secretary of state's office Monday, the state will conduct the executions in pairs on four days between April 17 and April 27.

However, it remains unclear if the Department of Corrections is capable of conducting executions, as one of the three drugs in Arkansas’ current protocol expired last month.

A prisons spokesman said Monday the state's supply of potassium chloride has not changed since it expired last month. 

He also said he was not aware of any efforts to find another batch.

Arkansas hasn't executed an inmate since 2005.

Ongoing attempts to carry out executions in the state have been halted in recent years by court challenges and difficulty obtaining drugs.

The executions are set to be carried out as followed, according to the governor's proclamation:

  • Don Davis and Bruce Earl Ward are scheduled to die on April 17.
  • Ledelle Lee and Stacey Johnson are scheduled to die April 20.
  • Marcell Williams and Jack Jones Jr. are scheduled to die April 24.
  • Jason McGehee and Kenneth Williams are scheduled to die April 27.


Source: Arkansas Online, February 27, 2017

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