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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. Read the rest of this entry

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