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Nevada Postpones Planned Execution Using Fentanyl

Nevada Postpones Planned Execution Using Fentanyl

The US state of Nevada postponed the execution by lethal injection of a murderer with the controversial opioid fentanyl on Wednesday, hours before he was due to die, US media reported.

But questions have been raised about whether Nevada's department of corrections broke the law to obtain the fentanyl, and whether the multibillion-dollar distribution company that provided the drug ignored evidence it was to be used in an execution. During a hearing Wednesday, Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez, who presides over the civil division of the district court in Clark County, barred the state from using its supply of midazolam in Dozier's execution, according to a court spokeswoman.

The Alvogen challenge in Nevada carried echoes of a drug distributor's attempts past year to have courts block Arkansas from using a chemical it sold in a planned series of executions.

Dozier was sentenced to death over the first-degree murder in 2002 of Jeremiah Miller, whose dismembered body was found in a trash bin in Las Vegas. Dozier, 47, has said he wants to die rather than spend his life in prison.

He has also said that he does not care if the execution is painful.

Dunham, the Death Penalty Information Center official, said that if cisatracurium is used in the the Nevada execution, it would be the first time that a state publicly acknowledged using it to execute an inmate.

According to the Review-Journal, Gonzalez has scheduled a status hearing in the case for September 10, while Dozier's death warrant expires at the end of the week.

There's a limit to how much artwork and physical exercise a person can do in prison, Dozier said in court hearings and letters to the Las Vegas judge who postponed his execution.

In the past, states with the death penalty typically used a cocktail of drugs that included sodium thiopental for lethal injection.

Following the use of midazolam in a number of botched executions, Alvogen wrote to the governors, attorney generals and prison authorities in every state with a death penalty saying it "strongly objects to the use of its products in capital punishment".

Drug companies have been blocking the use of their drugs in executions for a decade.




At the time of the trial, Dozier was already serving a 22-year sentence in Arizona for killing and dismembering 26-year-old Jasen Green in another drug-related murder.

Pfizer protested previous year, but Nevada refused its demand to return the diazepam and fentanyl it manufactured.

The state Supreme Court later overruled that decision.

Nevada has struggled to find drugs to carry out Dozier's execution because of resistance from manufacturers.

Alvogen notes that midazolam was used in several "botched" executions, including that of Clayton Lockett in 2014, where Lockett regained consciousness during his execution and died 40 minutes later of a heart attack.

Dozier, a twice-convicted killer who attempted suicide in the past, repeated his desire to die during a brief telephone interview Sunday with the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Midazolam has been used as a replacement for Valium - diazepam - after Nevada's stocks of the sedative expired, a Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) release said.

Fentanyl, which has been blamed for deadly overdoses across the country, has not been used before in an execution.

Nathan O'Neal of KSNV News 3, an NBC affiliate, and Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter David Ferrara said on Twitter Wednesday that Smith plans to file an emergency appeal with Nevada's Supreme Court to force the execution to proceed, but the high court has not yet received the filing. The state refused, however.

There's a limit to how much artwork and exercise a person can do in prison, Dozier said in court hearings and letters to Clark County District Judge Jennifer Togliatti, who postponed his execution past year. Miller's head was never found and he was identified by tattoos on his torso. A witness testified Dozier used a sledgehammer to break Greene's limbs so the corpse would fit in a plastic storage container. They argued the untried three-drug combination would be less humane than putting down a pet. Her ruling: "The state is restrained and enjoined from using midazolam".


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