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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…

Nevada schedules what could be 1st execution in a decade, but has no drugs to carry it out

Nevada's brand new $850,000 death chamber
Nevada's brand new $850,000 death chamber
Nevada has a problem on its hands after a Clark County judge ordered an inmate executed: the state has no apparent way to carry it out.

District Court Judge Jennifer Togliatti signed an order Thursday ordering Scott Raymond Dozier's execution for the week of Oct. 16. Dozier, 46, has voluntarily given up opportunities to appeal his decade-old death sentence and has repeatedly requested to die.

He was convicted in 2007 of robbing and killing a 22-year-old man at a Las Vegas hotel before dismembering the body. He was also convicted of another murder in Arizona.

Although the state has about 80 people on death row, most die in prison, and a volunteer is rare. Nevada hasn't had an execution since 2006, and only carried out 12 executions since 1977.

The state is required by law to use a lethal injection, but a drug needed to create the lethal injection cocktail has expired. Nevada found none of the 247 vendors it contacted last year were willing to replace it.

Numerous major pharmaceutical companies have refused to supply drugs that they know will be used for execution. This spring, Nevada Department of Corrections Director James Dzurenda suggested the agency might procure drugs from other states that don't anticipate using them.

On Thursday, the agency was unable to provide details on how they would proceed beyond a short statement.

"The Department is seeking guidance from the Attorney General's Office and will follow all appropriate and legal protocol to ensure state law is followed," it said.

Attorney General Adam Laxalt's office didn't immediately respond to a request seeking comment.

Nationwide, difficulties with the drug supply have prompted states to take drastic, controversial measures with the death penalty. 

Officials in Arkansas scheduled 8 executions in 11 days this spring in a race against the expiration dates of their lethal injection drugs, although only 4 were carried out.

Source: The Nevada Independent, July 29, 2017

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