There is currently no domestic source for sodium thiopental. Kentucky recently turned its supply of the drug over to the U.S. Justice Department due to questions about its origins. There is a replacement drug, but the U.S. Supreme Court has blocked an execution in Texas that was to be the state’s first using it.
The nationwide shortage of a drug commonly used in lethal injection executions has many states looking for alternatives, but Kentucky is not likely to change its formula for executions anytime soon.
There is a national shortage of sodium thiopental, which is one of the drugs used in executions. The commonwealth recently purchased enough of the drug from a company in Georgia to perform three lethal injections.
Like their counterparts in many states, Kentucky Justice Cabinet officials are having a hard time obtaining a drug needed for lethal injection executions.
The AP reports today that thirteen states have asked the U.S. Justice Department for help getting sodium thiopental. (Kentucky’s supply expired in October.)
The state’s last dose of sodium thiopental has expired, and until a new supply of the barbiturate can be obtained, there can be no executions in the commonwealth.
Attorney General Jack Conway immediately appealed Wilson’s stay of execution to the Kentucky Supreme Court, but the court can’t rule until all parties have responded. Wilson’s lawyers have until September 20th to respond and so far, there has been no response.
Attorney General Jack Conway is appealing the stay, issued by Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd. Gov. Steve Beshear says the state is just waiting to see what happens in the courts.
Judge Phillip Shepherd ruled Friday that the state’s procedure for executing an inmate by lethal injection allows only a three-drug cocktail, even though state law permits a one-drug option.
Wilson is scheduled to die by lethal injection September 16 for the 1987 murder of restaurant worker Deborah Pooley in Covington.
Governor Steve Beshear was recently asked to sign three death warrants. He signed one, but held off on two others, citing a shortage of Sodium thiopental (Pentathol), which is used in lethal injection executions.