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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…

Japan: Death penalty to stand for woman convicted of murdering 2 men

Miyuki Ueta
Miyuki Ueta
TOKYO -- The death sentence given to a woman convicted of murdering two men in the western Japan prefecture of Tottori in 2009 is set to be finalized after the Supreme Court upheld lower court rulings Thursday.

The top court said in its ruling that the defendant carried out the premeditated and "cruel crimes based on firm intentions to kill" and she bears "grave criminal responsibility."

According to the lower court rulings, Miyuki Ueta, a 43-year-old former bar worker, drugged truck driver Kazumi Yabe, 47, and drowned him in the sea in April 2009 and she drugged and drowned in a river electronics store owner Hideki Maruyama, 57, in October of the same year.

Ueta, who owed money to both victims, maintained her innocence and the verdicts were based mainly on circumstantial evidence, including that Ueta was the last person to meet with the men before they went missing and she obtained sleeping pills beforehand.

In coming to his decision, judge Koike concluded that Ueta was the last point of contact for both victims; put the victims to sleep with drug-filled concoctions just before their deaths; and committed the crimes to escape from debts.

The defense had argued that it was impossible for Ueta to bring drugged men to the crime scenes herself.

In 2012, Ueta was sentenced to death by the Tottori District Court. Two years later, the Hiroshima High Court rejected an appeal by the defense.

Source: Japan Today, July 27, 2017

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