In deciding not to be the first in the nation to use the anesthetic propofol for capital punishment, Gov. Jay Nixon left Missouri with dwindling options as it seeks to execute two convicted murderers in the coming months, reports the Associated Press. Nixon halted Allen Nicklasson’s Oct. 23 execution after doctor protests along with threats from the anti-death penalty European Union to limit the drug’s export. Nixon ordered the state corrections department to come up with a different lethal injection protocol.
Other states, including Ohio and Texas, have turned to private compounding pharmacies to prepare new batches of the sedative pentobarbital after large drug manufacturers balked, a move Missouri could follow. It could also seek to administer a different FDA-approved sedative such as midazolam, also an untested execution drug which the state of Florida plans to provide Tuesday as part of a three-drug mix for William Happ, a house painter convicted in a Fort Lauderdale rape and strangulation. Another possible scenario for Missouri: months if not years of continued legal challenges.