Lawyers Say Georgia Execution Drug Expired, State Says No

Lawyers for a Georgia death row inmate say a lethal injection drug that will be used on him is likely expired. They say the vials of sodium thiopental were labeled with the name of a company that is no longer in business. State officials deny the allegations and say the drug does not expire until 2014.

The sedative is nearly impossible to get because its U.S. manufacturer quit making it. It is part of a three-drug cocktail used to put people to death. Georgia and several other states ended up buying it from a British supplier death penalty opponents consider questionable.

Southern Center for Human Rights Executive Director Sara Totonchi says they filed a lawsuit in behalf of Roy Willard Blankenship whose execution was originally scheduled for last Wednesday.

“Thiopental is used in executions very similarly to the way it’s used in medical procedures to anesthetize a person before an extremely painful procedure.”

Relatives for Brandon Rhode, who was executed here in September with the imported drug, are in England testifying before British officials asking them to recall it.

Execution chamber at Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson (photo Georgia Department of Corrections)

Josephine Bennett




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