Lethal Injection

Missouri: Execution Will Proceed Without Tulsa Pharmacy's Help

Missouri's governor said Tuesday that the state can still execute a convicted child-killer next week even though one compounding pharmacy has agreed not to sell it the drug used for lethal injections.

"Missouri is still prepared to carry out the execution next week," Scott Holste, a spokesman for Gov. Jay Nixon, told NBC News.

"And the state would be able to carry out the execution without having to make significant changes to the protocol."

Missouri's execution protocol calls for pentobarbital, but officials have not said whether or how they have obtained the dose they intend to use to Michael Taylor on Feb. 26.

A prison official revealed in a deposition last month that Missouri has a backup supply of the sedative midazolam and painkiller hydromorphone.

That cocktail was used during Ohio's Jan. 16 execution of Dennis McGuire, who took 25 minutes to die and was reported to gasp for air. The resulting controversy led Ohio to put an eight-month hold on its next execution.

Numerous death-penalty states have been left scrambling for drugs because the manufacturers refuse to sell them for use in executions.

Some have turned to loosely regulated compounding pharmacies, which defense lawyers argue is illegal.

Taylor — who was convicted of raping and murdering a 15-year-old girl — sued one of the pharmacies, the Apothecary Shoppe in Tulsa, Okla. On Monday, it agreed not to provide pentobarbital or any other drug for his execution,Taylor's lawyer said.

The Apothecary Shoppe declined to say whether it was getting out of the death-row dispensary business altogether.

Image: Michael Anthony Taylor
Michael Anthony Taylor, death row inmate. Missouri Correctional Office via AP file