Missouri Gov. Halts 1st US Execution by Propofol

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Nixon said Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster will ask the Missouri Supreme Court to set a new execution date for Nicklasson, a convicted killer. Messages left with Koster’s office and for a spokesman for the Missouri Department of Corrections were not immediately returned.

Nixon’s decision also leaves uncertain the execution scheduled for Nov. 20 for another convicted killer, Joseph Franklin.

In addition to concerns raised about how the EU would respond to the execution, Missouri’s decision to use propofol prompted a lawsuit filed on behalf of nearly two dozen death row inmates claiming use of the unproven execution drug could result in pain and suffering for the condemned man.

Koster, a Democrat, and Republican Missouri state Sen. Kurt Schaefer have suggested that if the state can’t execute by lethal injection it consider going back to the gas chamber, something that hasn’t been used since the 1960s. Missouri no longer has a gas chamber but Schaefer recently wrote to Nixon, urging him to consider funding construction of a new one in his next fiscal year budget.

The corrections department on Wednesday agreed to return a shipment of propofol to Louisiana-based distributor Morris & Dickson Co. The company distributes propofol made in Europe by Fresenius Kabi and told the corrections department in November that its shipment was a mistake.

Corrections spokesman David Owen said Wednesday that Missouri had a remaining supply of propofol, all of it domestically made. But Fresenius Kabi spokesman Matt Kuhn said even the use of domestically produced propofol in an execution could prompt the EU to impose export controls.

Nicklasson was convicted of the 1994 killing of Excelsior Springs businessman Richard Drummond, who stopped to help when a car used by Nicklasson and two others broke down on Interstate 70 in central Missouri. Another man in the car, Dennis Skillicorn, was executed in 2009.

Franklin, a drifter from Alabama, was convicted in the 1977 sniper shooting of Gerald Gordon as a crowd dispersed from a bar mitzvah in suburban St. Louis. Two others were wounded. He has said he tried to start a race war by traveling the country shooting people. When he confessed in 1994 to the shooting, he was serving several life sentences in a federal prison for killing two black joggers in Salt Lake City and an interracial couple in Madison, Wis., and the bombing of a synagogue in Chattanooga, Tenn.

(Photo: AP)

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