Gov. Dave Heineman sees much more behind the latest legal paperwork filed to keep Michael Ryan from being executed.
Heineman asserts that the latest filing by defense attorney Jerry Soucie isn’t as much about Ryan as it is about preventing Nebraska from carrying out the death penalty. Soucie claims in a motion filed with the Nebraska Supreme Court that the state didn’t appropriately and legally acquire its latest batch of sodium thiopental, the first of three drugs used in lethal injection.
Heineman says Ryan’s legal team hopes to undermine the state’s ability to carry our executions.
“This is about whether we’re going to have a death penalty or not in this state,” according to Heineman. “And all those who are opposed to it are trying to think of every reason known to mankind to delay it.”
The Swiss pharmaceutical company, Naari, claims it never intended to sell sodium thiopental to be used in lethal injections. The state Attorney General has filed paperwork claiming that the drug was appropriately and legally obtained.
Heineman asserts the latest filing by Ryan’s attorneys have a bigger agenda in mind.
“But what this is all about from the other side is they’re trying to make sure we don’t have a death penalty,” Heineman says. “Most Nebraskans agree with me that we need to have one.”
Ryan, a former religious cult leader, has been sentenced to death for the 1985 torture and killing of James Thimm, a member of his religious cult in Rulo. Ryan has also been convicted of 5-year-old Luke Stice, the son of a cult member. Ryn is 63. An execution date has not been set.