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Lethal Injection

Supreme Court Refuses to Stay Execution in Missouri

The U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday refused to stay the execution of a Missouri inmate who is set to become the first man put to death since an execution in Arizona went awry last month, in which an inmate took two hours to die from a disputed drug cocktail.

Michael Worthington, 43, raped and murdered a college student in 1995. He will be executed at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday at a prison south of St. Louis, calling into question the Arizona execution and two others that were botched in Ohio and Oklahoma, as well as the secrecy involving the drugs used during the process in Missouri.

The Supreme Court said Worthington's application for a stay, presented to Justice Samuel Alito and then referred to the Court, was denied. Missouri's Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon later denied Worthington's clemency request. Missouri uses a different drug to execute inmates than Arizona. In that state, an inmate gasped more than 600 times and took nearly two hours to die after being injected with midazolam and hydromorphone on July 23. Missouri uses a single large dose of pentobarbital, and says it has carried out eight executions where inmates showed no signs of distress.

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— The Associated Press