Texas Is Running Out Of Execution Drug

Texas Execution

Kent Sprouse

Kent Sprouse, 42, was the fifth convicted killer executed this year in Texas. In 2002, Sprouse killed Ennis Police officer Harry Marvin “Marty” Steinfeldt III, who was 28-years-old, and 38-year old Pedro Moreno. Although charged in Moreno’s death, Sprouse was not tried for it.

Sprouse, a meth addict, had used the drug and other drugs 48 hours before the shoot-out that took place at the Ferris Food Mart. Jim Jenkins, who was Sprouse’s lead lawyer at his trial said Sprouse suffered from the effects of methamphetamine addiction.

 “He just didn’t know what he was doing, but the jury has to buy that. It’s sort of like being drunk and killing somebody. That’s really not a defense, not a legal defense. … The whole thing is extremely sad.”

Thursday, Sprouse was given the drug pentobarbital intravenously. He took several deep breaths and was pronounced dead 22 minutes later.

Associated Press reports:

Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials said a recent purchase of pentobarbital means they have enough of the sedative to carry out three other executions set for this month, including one next week. But at least three more are set for May and June, meaning they would have to find a new supply or switch to a different drug to carry out those executions on schedule.

Death penalty states have found it increasingly difficult to acquire execution drugs because traditional manufacturers now refuse to sell their drugs for use in executions. States now rely on compounding pharmacies for their made-to-order execution drugs.

In three weeks, the Supreme Court of the United States will consider a challenge from three death row inmates to Oklahoma’s lethal injection method. A ruling against the use of midazolam, a sedative that lacks the knockout punch of pentobarbital, is part of a three-drug cocktail.

In March 2015, the American Pharmacists Association and the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists discouraged their members from participating in the process of providing drugs for execution. The American Pharmacists Association called it “fundamentally contrary to the role of pharmacists as providers of health care.”

death-penalty-mostly-awarded-to-dalits-and-religious-minoritiesStates that have turned to compounding pharmacies for their drugs are running into increased resistance. David Miller, executive vice president of the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists stated, “As a pharmacist, I was trained to take care of people. This is not our business. Our business is in healing.”

The United States used to get some of the drugs from Europe, but the European Union does not support capital punishment and is no longer supplying the drugs to America.

With so many difficulties using lethal injections, some states with capital punishment are instituting backup methods. Tennessee would allow electrocution. Utah has re-instituted the firing squad, and Oklahoma legislatures are moving towards using nitrogen gas.

The botch legal injection executions have also raised questions from pet owners about drugs used to euthanize animals. Pet Adviser has an article on its website addressing the issue. Vets use a sedative first, then an anesthesia.

“Euthanasia solution induces an almost immediate state of anesthesia, quickly followed by a stopping of the heart. Once the injection has started, the pet becomes immediately anesthetized, and then leaves this life in less than a minute.”

A 2012 report by the National Research Council, titled Deterrence and the Death Penalty, stated that studies claiming that the death penalty has a deterrent effect on murder rates are “fundamentally flawed” and should not be used when making policy decisions

Along with the federal government and military, 32 states currently have the death penalty.

Posted on 04/10/2015, in Cases, Potpourri and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 30 Comments.

  1. It’s true, we kill people to show that killing people is wrong. This makes no sense

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  2. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez

    I am 100% against the death penalty. Humans are not infallible and there is bias and racism; the death penalty should be abolished nationally.

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  3. You’d think they would take the hint.

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    • I don’t know Rick………they don’t get it even when facts smack ’em dead in the face. Our Govt. is so corrupt, police, politicians, prosecutors, businessmen, bankers….you name them, they can get away with anything and the Govt. just lets it slide.

      But let a single middle or lower class person, let alone a minority allegedly shoplift, and a cop can enforce every branch of the judicial system………..especially if he turns his back and puts hi hands up with a pull of his trigger.

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    • Hey Rick! Hint? You mean, like thinking that if the drugs for lethal injection are not being supplied, that maybe they should repeal the death penalty? Nah. They want their pound of flesh.

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  4. yahtzeebutterfly

    I believe that life imprisonment should be the punishment for murderers especially knowing that so many are later found to be innocent through DNA testing and other investigation.

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  5. What gets me, is that it is the same evangelical right wing Christians who preach pro-life and claim to value the gift of life who are also the main proponents for the death penalty. I truly believe that when a person commits a terrible crime, that we as a society are partly responsible. For example, there is the mentally ill man, Scott Panetti, who was recently executed in Texas. He may have been prevented from doing the crime if he had received mental health services. I do believe that if there is a person who is definitely a danger to others, no matter what the background, that society needs to be protected from this person. Even here, I am so saddened when I hear about how cruelly prisoners are treated in too many cases.

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    • I, also, am perplexed by evangelical right wing Christians. Like you say, against abortion (‘because it’s murder, the worst sin of all,’ one lady told me). But they support the death penalty?

      And, if they care about life so much, why are they always trying to cut food stamps? Which is worse – Killing a fetus, or starving a child?

      Can’t they think logically? Can’t they imagine what Jesus would do? Apparently they are both left- and right-brain damaged.

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      • Dear JoAnn, I am publishing a blog on this issue of abortion which will post tomorrow. I’ve done a lot of study and research on this subject. While the pro lifers are obnoxious and zealous about saving babies, they are the first ones to cut the safety net type programs that help poor women keep and care for their children. so, you are right on!!

        The most effective way for reducing unwanted pregnancies and thus abortions is by properly educating young people about sex and contraceptives but these pro lifers are against this also. Even though the US has the highest rate for infant mortality when compared to all other developed countries, it is these pro lifers in southern states who are against Medicaid expansion. If poor women have access to competent health care during and after birth of a baby, this is the one major step that would reduce infant mortality.

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    • Gronda, yes! I too believe that if necessary services were provided to the mentally ill, and even those going through situational depression, that there would be less violence.

      Hypocrisy runs deep, but that is what happened with the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil; it calls good evil, evil good, and believes that God does both. In spite of Christ saying he is the only true witness of the Father, and he killed no one, there are people who believe that God sanctions the death penalty. The lesson of eye-for-eye is that eventually, the entire world would be blind.

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      • Unfortunately, a lot of people follow this old testament rule but here is the rub. Those who read their bible ( I am referring to hypocrites out there) know that the this rule is done away in the New Testament. In fact, one is instructed to love their enemy, pray for them, help them etc. It is very specifically stated that if you HATE your brother, then that is equivalent to murder. The reader is definitely admonished against passing judgment on another and to first look to themselves. After listening to some of these very conservative Christians, I often wonder if I am reading from the same bible.

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        • Gronda,

          …I often wonder if I am reading from the same bible.

          The heart and mind are the interpreters, which goes to say that the same Bible tells us that the New Covenant is God writing his laws in our hearts and minds.

          Old covenant believers have a very difficult time admitting that they are. It took a drastic measure for Paul, an Old Covenant believer, to “see the light.”

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  6. Reblogged this on Blissfully Single.

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  7. I am appreciative of the American Pharmacists Association and the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists for taking a stand against the use of execution drugs.

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    • Hi JoAnn and welcome to Blackbutterfly7. Thanks for your comment and joining the discussion. Along with the American Pharmacists Association and International Academy of Pharmacists, juries can deadlock on death penalty sentencing, nullifying it.

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  8. I beg to differ

    leaves this life in less than a minute

    I worked for a vet for several years and one of the services provided was euthanasia; which is a Greek word meaning “the good death. The pet becomes anesthetized and drifts into a twilight sleep which can take mere take seconds, or possibly up to 20 minutes depending of the size and weight of the animal. At this point the lethal injection is administered into the scruff of skin directly behind the animals head into the lateral saphenous vein; 15-20 minutes can pass before the heart stops completely.

    Euthanatizing a beloved pet is very difficult decision, and made out of love and respect.

    Euthanatizing humans for heinous crimes committed is NOT made from a place of love or respect, its pure and simple execution. Sentencing a prisoner to imprisonment for the term of natural life is punishment enough allowing for the ever increasing wrongfully convicted.

    Euthanasia/Execution of convicted felons is just a gentling conveyance for State Sanctioned “MURDER”

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    • Hey Lady! After the botched legal injections, I too questioned about pet euthanasia. Back in the 80’s when I had my dog euthanized, the vet said that I probably wouldn’t want to stay while he did it because the dog would “drop” right after the injection. More than a decade later with another dog and another vet, he explained that he monitors the heartbeat, but there are times when there are sounds of organs shutting down even after the heart has stopped. I decided that time that I did not want my beloved pet to die alone.

      I agree about state sanctioned murder for humans. When there is no accountability for “suicide by cop,” even those states that do not have the death penalty, do.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Will continue to say it until the end of time. Murder that is sanctioned and carried out by the state is one of the most illogical things that our society has ever done.

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    • Ebrew,
      I totally agree. My mind cannot wrap around the idea that death is punishment when death does not discriminate.

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  10. Capital punishment is not a deterrent to crime according to many studies as per ACLU. It costs the state lots of monies because of the appeal process beyond the cost of incarcerating someone for life in prison. The states that ban capital punishment have lower murder rates than states that do have it. Facts are irrelevant as long as elected officials can win by pleasing their constituents as to how tough they are on crime.

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    • Back when John Wayne Gacy was arrested and charged with the murders of 33 young men, I was busy with the things in life that most young wives and mothers do. I had not considered the death penalty until Gacy was executed. That was 14 years after his conviction. He even outlived 2 members of the jury that convicted him. The State of Illinois actually sued Gacy for more than $144K for taking care of him while he pursued appeals because while doing so, he was selling paintings and raising money otherwise. The State dismissed the lawsuit when Gacy agreed to dismiss his lawsuit against the state for death row conditions.

      That is when my attention was drawn to capital punishment, and while at that time my perception was more on the political view, it evolved over the years to seeing it as a hypocritical form of justice.

      If punishment of any sort stopped crime, America would be crime free because we have more people in prison that any other country.

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