published Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Supreme Court halts Missouri execution

  • photo
    A group of death penalty opponents hold a vigil Tuesday outside the prison where Missouri death row inmate Russell Bucklew was scheduled to be executed in Bonne Terre, Mo.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has put off the execution of a Missouri inmate with a rare medical condition who challenged the state's refusal to disclose the source of its lethal injection drug.

The justices on Wednesday said a lower federal court needs to take another look at the case of convicted killer Russell Bucklew.

Bucklew's attorneys said the combination of the secrecy surrounding the execution drug and Bucklew's medical condition affecting his blood vessels makes for an unacceptably high risk that he would experience extreme pain if injected with a lethal dose of pentobarbital

Bucklew would have been the first inmate put to death since last month's botched execution in Oklahoma. Bucklew is on death row for killing a man during a 1996 crime spree.

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