Okla. Executions Delayed Amid Drug Shortage

An Oklahoma appeals court has delayed two death row inmates' planned executions by more than a month amid an execution drug shortage, after the state admitted it didn't know what drugs it would use for its lethal injections. Clayton Lockett had been slated to be executed Thursday and Charles Warner a week later, but the court pushed back both of their executions amid their lawyers' efforts to find out where the state is getting its pentobarbital and vecuronium. The state revealed in a brief filed Monday that it hadn't been able to get those two drugs and was mulling a last-minute change to its protocol — prompting the appeals court to push back the executions. Execution drug shortages in multiple states have thrown execution plans into disarray and forced states either to come up with new cocktails or else turn to less regulated compounding pharmacies. But the new cocktails aren't without risks; one prisoner executed that way in Ohio took 25 minutes to die and was described as gasping for breath.

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