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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…

South Dakota: Defenders Seek $350,000 for South Dakota Death Penalty Case

SOUTH DAKOTA - The Pennington County Public Defender's Office is asking the county for about $350,000 to help defend a man facing the death penalty for the alleged murder of his ex-girlfriend.

The Rapid City Journal reports that the extra costs in Jonathon Klinetobe's case involve expert evaluations, travel expenses and witness fees.

The 27-year-old Klinetobe, of Sturgis, is charged with first-degree murder for the stabbing death of Jessica Rehfeld. 

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Klinetobe and Richard Hirth, an alleged accomplice.

Eric Whitcher, director of the public defender's office, says it's a complex issue and death penalty cases are "extremely expensive." 

He could not elaborate because of a judge's gag order.

Authorities say they believe Rehfeld's May 2015 death was a contract killing. 

Her body was discovered last summer.

Source: Associated Press, June 25, 2017

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