Nevada Execution Off After Drug Company Objects

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A state trying to execute its first inmate in 12 years using an untested combination of drugs is heading back to the planning stages, and a twice-convicted killer who wants to die will return to Nevada’s death row, after a court postponed his lethal injection to allow a drug company to argue that it never intended for its sedative to be used for executions, the Associated Press reports. Scott Dozier, whose execution also was postponed in November amid concerns about the drugs being used and who has attempted suicide, was disappointed, said his attorney, Thomas Ericsson. Dozier, 47, has said he wants to die rather than spend his life in prison.

Nevada announced last week that it would substitute the sedative midazolam for expired prison stocks of diazepam, commonly known as Valium. That raised concerns among death penalty experts about whether Dozier would be unconscious enough not to react to pain when fentanyl was administered. Midazolam maker Alvogen of New Jersey filed a lawsuit accusing Nevada of illegally securing midazolam for unapproved purposes. The delay stokes a debate about how the 31 states with capital punishment can put anyone to death in an era when pharmaceutical companies ban their products for that use. Todd Bice, an attorney for Alvogen, said the company had sent a letter to state officials in April telling them it opposes the use of midazolam in executions. Alvogen cited public criticism of “botched” executions in states when midazolam had been used. Dozier was sentenced to death in 2007 for robbing, killing and dismembering 22-year-old Jeremiah Miller at a Las Vegas motel in 2002.

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