Concerns Over Florida Execution Drug

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By: Matt Horn
November 22, 2013

Thomas Knight has been on death row since 1983. Governor Rick Scott scheduled his execution for early December, but a 5-2 Supreme Court decision has delayed the execution. Concerns are being raised over the effectiveness of a new drug in the lethal cocktail. Death penalty opponents support the delay.

“I think we’re gong to find out a lot about this drug and we’re going to find out what’s really going on. I think we’re gong to find out that this drug may not be able to be used in this combination in the future,” said opponent Sheila Meehan.

The new drug has been used in two executions, after an approved drug became unavailable. The fear is that the new drug won’t keep the inmate from feeling pain before two other drugs complete the execution.

“The purpose here is not vengeance and that this person cannot suffer, and the Supreme Court has said this cannot be cruel and unusual punishment,” said Meehan.

Governor Rick Scott brushed aside questions on the ruling asking how he could assure the cocktail was safe. “You’ll have to go work with the Department of Corrections,” said Governor Scott.

But then the Department of Corrections refused our request for an on-camera interview.

Opponents call the cocktail a human experiment. The DOC said in October that they did thorough research before using the drug.

“It is our job to do that in the most dignified and humane way possible,” said Misty Cash, Department of Corrections spokeswoman in an October interview.

The state must produce drug manufacturer documents proving the drug effectively blocks pain. Florida and other states have been forced to seek new execution drugs after a growing number of drug makers refuse to allow their products to be used in executions.

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