Nashville, Tennessee (AP) — At least two people connected to Tennessee Suddenly suspended execution Last month, a newly released record showed that he knew the night before that the lethal-injection drug that the state was planning to use had not undergone the necessary tests.
Governor Bill Lee was convicted of Smith’s murder of his estranged wife and two teenage sons in 1989 for “oversight,” and was scheduled for lethal injection on April 21. Just one hour before the death penalty for 72-year-old Oscar Smith was suspended. The governor’s office later revealed that the drug had not been tested for endotoxin.
Republican Governor Government Refused to publish a lot of information, Says the problem was “technical”.Instead, Lee recently appointed a former U.S. lawyer. Lead an independent investigation We have also suspended four other executions scheduled for this year.
There were no signs of lethal injection until about an hour before the Governor’s Office issued a news release to discontinue it on April 21. Smith had received fellowship from his spiritual adviser, who was to be granted permission in the execution chamber, shortly before he knew his grace. He ate his last meal and was waiting for media witnesses and family relatives to gather. The US Supreme Court also denied a bid for Smith’s last hour’s stay.
On Friday, the Corrections Bureau released a 20-page, heavily edited email and text message on the Associated Press through a request for public records.
Among them, experts say that no tests were done for so-called endotoxins, which are usually derived from bacteria. Such tests are considered very important as they may indicate a problem with the manufacture of the drug. However, according to Frank Romanelli, a professor of pharmacy at the University of Kentucky, endotoxin itself is usually not immediately lethal and may not cause problems in the execution environment.
The Corrections Bureau refused to answer questions about when the state knew that executions were not properly tested.
“As you know, the Governor has published an independent review of these issues that we fully support. We cannot provide any further information until the review is complete,” spokesman Dorinda said. Carter said in a statement.
The Tennessee Execution Protocol requires individual testing of combination drug efficacy, sterility, and endotoxin. It was not clear from the records provided whether other tests were performed.
At a press conference announcing an independent investigation last week, Prime Minister Lee said he noticed a test issue shortly before the execution took place. The records provided to the AP mean that some people knew almost a day ago.
Almost all names, email addresses, phone numbers, and other identifiable information have been removed from the record. Even the name of the governor’s communication team, which is regularly distributed in the media and in general, has been removed. According to the Corrections Bureau’s legal counsel, the state has edited the names of people who were or may be directly involved in the enforcement process.
Tennessee is using three drug series to kill inmates. Midazolam is a sedative that makes inmates unconscious. Vecuronium bromide to paralyze inmates; and potassium chloride, stop the heart.
The record included a text exchange between two unidentified persons whose names were blacked out in the record. Beginning around 8 pm, the night before Smith’s scheduled execution, one asked for the results of a midazolam and potassium chloride experiment.
The Corrections Bureau edited the answer, but when the same person asked for the results of the endotoxin test, the answer from another said it was “not necessary” based on the amount they did.
“Sorry, I didn’t test it,” the text reads.
“It’s done with the old one,” the exchange said.
Later that morning, another text message asks if it is possible to test for endotoxin on the day of execution.
“I honestly doubt it,” the response said.
Tennessee and many other states have recently passed a record-breaking law exemption, obscuring other information about drug supplier identities and secret executions.
“I’m worried that we can’t guarantee that deadly injectable chemicals were manufactured according to standards,” Smith’s lawyer Kelly Henry said in an email statement. “Complex high-risk sterile injections, such as those used in the Tennessee lethal injection protocol, are extremely dangerous.”
Smith was sentenced to death on October 1, 1989 at his home in Nashville for deadly stabbing and shooting his estranged wife Judith Smith and his sons Jason and Chad Burnett. .. It was trying to resume the rapid pre-pandemic pace of killing inmates.
Smith claimed he was innocent. Lethal injection has become the default method because he previously refused to choose between the two Tennessee means of doing things: the electric chair and lethal injection. Smith’s first June 2020 execution date has been postponed due to a pandemic.
Nashville Associated Press writers Jonathan Mathis and Travis Roller contributed to this report.