Texan Executed With Single Drug; Claimed Fetal Alcohol Retardation


A Texas man convicted of carjacking and fatally shooting a stockbroker in 1998 was executed last night with an injection of a single lethal drug instead of the previous three-drug mix. the Associated Press reports. Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials said last week they were modifying the method used since 1982 because the state’s supply of one of the drugs — the muscle relaxant pancuronium bromide — has expired. Yokamon Hearn, 33, was injected with the sedative pentobarbital, which had been part of the mixture since last year.

Ohio, Arizona, Idaho, and Washington have adopted a single-drug procedure, and this week Georgia said it would do so. Hearn’s lawyers said his mother drank alcohol while she was pregnant, stunting his neurological development and leaving him with mental impairments that disqualify him from execution under earlier Supreme Court rulings. Hearn was within 15 minutes of being executed in 2004 when the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals halted his execution to allow him to pursue his claim that he is mentally retarded because of fetal alcohol syndrome. Hearn is one of two inmates identified in a Ft. Worth Star-Telegram article this month who have appealed death sentences on the grounds that they have brain damage from fetal alcohol syndrome, caused by their mothers’ alcohol abuse during pregnancy.

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