Judge delays execution because of concerns about drug in new cocktail

Death Penalty


At least two states are planning to try new combinations of execution drugs that include the opioid painkiller fentanyl.

One of those states is Nevada, which wants to use a combination of the sedative diazepam, fentanyl and the paralyzing agent cisatracurium, The Marshall Project reported last summer.

Concerns about cisatracurium spurred a Nevada judge on Thursday to order its removal from the state’s three-drug cocktail, report the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Las Vegas Sun and the Associated Press.

Judge Jennifer Togliatt also postponed next week’s scheduled execution of Scott Dozier to allow the Nevada Supreme Court to review her decision.

Togliatt noted testimony that cisatracurium could mask signs of suffering if problems surfaced with the other two drugs. Deputy federal public defender David Anthony had suggested the paralytic agent was intended to stop witnesses from seeing any problems with the execution process.

Nebraska is also planning a new execution cocktail that includes all three of Nevada’s drugs, along with potassium chloride, the AP reports. Nebraska plans to use the four-drug cocktail in the planned execution of inmate Jose Sandoval.

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