Convicted Idaho killer Richard Leavitt, 53, was executed yesterday for a 1984 murder, with witnesses for the first time watching the entire lethal injection process under a court order issued in response to a lawsuit from news organizations, reports the Spokane (WA) Spokesman-Review.
Associated Press reporter Rebecca Boone, one of four media witnesses, reported, “Six correctional officers, wearing surgical masks and stationed three to a side like pallbearers, lifted the inmate off the gurney and strapped him to the execution table inside the Idaho state prison on Tuesday. They attached intravenous lines to Richard Leavitt's arms and electrodes to the convicted killer's chest and stomach to measure his breathing and heart rate. A week ago, no one aside from the prison officials would have seen the state's lethal injection process in its entirety. But a federal judge ordered it open.” The Associated Press and 16 other news groups sued last month, arguing that Idaho Department of Correction policy barring witnesses from viewing the early stages of a lethal injection last November, including insertion of IVs, violated the First Amendment and the public's right to know. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, ordering Idaho prison officials to open the entire process to witnesses.