A sedative Oklahoma used yesterday to execute a death row inmate that is commonly used to euthanize animals could become more popular because of a nationwide shortage of a key ingredient in several states’ lethal injection formulas, death penalty experts tell the Associated Press. John Duty, 58, is believed to be the first U.S. inmate whose execution included the use of pentobarbital.
Oklahoma and several other states traditionally have used the barbiturate sodium thiopental to put an inmate to sleep, followed by two other drugs. Hospira Inc., the only U.S. manufacturer of sodium thiopental, said new batches of the drug could be available early next year. The firm blamed the shortage on problems with its raw-material providers. Oklahoma prisons spokesman Jerry Massie said after the execution that there did not appear to be any problems with the new drug.