Texas prison officials are helping Virginia prepare for a scheduled execution Thursday by providing the state with pentobarbital, a lethal drug that corrections agencies nationwide have had difficulty obtaining, the Associated Press reports. Virginia officials said they needed pentobarbital to replace a dose of another drug they intended to use, midazolam, that will soon expire. The Texas-provided pentobarbital is set to be used during the execution of Alfredo Prieto, 49, for the 1988 slaying of a young couple. Prieto already was on death row in California for raping and killing a 15-year-old girl.
Texas prisons spokesman Jason Clark said the three vials of pentobarbital given to Virginia were legally purchased from a compounding pharmacy, which he declined to name. Texas and Oklahoma are among a handful of states with laws that are being challenged by death penalty opponents allowing them not to disclose where they get execution drugs. Robert Dunham of the Death Penalty Information Center, an anti-death penalty organization, said the drug exchange “puts a whole new spin on the efforts by state departments of corrections for secrecy in the execution process.” (Georgia plans to execute Kelly Gissendaner tomorrow for conspiring to murder her husband in 1997. Under a 2013 state law, Georgia corrections officials don't need to identify the manufacturer of the execution drug, the compounding pharmacist who mixes the solution, or much of anything else, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.)