Share This Page

Fla., Ga., Mo. push ahead on execution

| Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 8:36 p.m.

ST. LOUIS — With Florida holding the nation's third execution in less than 24 hours on Wednesday, some death penalty states — particularly in the South — appear unfazed by the recent furor over how lethal injections are carried out.

A botched execution seven weeks ago in Oklahoma amplified a national debate about the secretive ways many states obtain lethal injection drugs from loosely regulated compounding pharmacies. Before Tuesday, nine executions were stayed or delayed — albeit some for reasons not related to the drug question.

Amid the court battles, many pro-death penalty states kept pushing to resume executions, including the three that scheduled lethal injections during the quick burst this week. Georgia and Missouri executed prisoners about an hour apart late Tuesday and early Wednesday, and John Ruthell Henry received a lethal injection in Florida and was pronounced dead at 7:43 p.m.

Florida executed the 63-year-old, convicted of killing his estranged wife and her son, despite claims that he is mentally ill and intellectually disabled.

Austin Sarat, professor of jurisprudence and political science at Amherst College, said there has been a regional divide when it comes to how quickly states are returning to the business of putting prisoners to death.

“I think what you're going to see is kind of a division where some areas, some states, predominantly in the South, are going to dig in their heels,” Sarat said. “Other states are going to proceed more cautiously and impose, if not an official moratorium, more of a de facto moratorium until things get sorted out.”

The executions in Georgia and Missouri were the first since April 29, when Oklahoma prison officials halted the process because drugs weren't being administered properly into the veins of inmate Clayton Lockett. He died of a heart attack 43 minutes later.

Lawyers for death row inmates have cited concerns that what happened in Oklahoma could be repeated, and they've challenged the secretive ways many states obtain lethal injection drugs.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.