Texas yesterday carried out its first execution using a sedative often used to euthanize animals, Reuters reports. Cary Kerr, 46, was put to death by lethal injection for the 2001 sexual assault and strangling of Pamela Horton. The new drug, pentobarbital, replaced sodium thiopental in Texas’ three-drug execution protocol.
The change was necessary because Hospira Inc. of Illinois stopped making the sodium thiopental after Italy objected to Hospira manufacturing an execution drug in that country. That caused a shortage of the drug throughout the United States. Kerr was the third prisoner to be put to death this year in Texas, which executes more prisoners than any other state. Texas executed 17 people in 2010, down from 24 in 2009.