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AG: drug supplier found so Arizona could resume executions

August 20, 2020 GMT

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich notified Gov. Doug Ducey on Thursday that a drug supplier has been found so the state could get ready to resume executions after a six-year hiatus.

Arizona’s last execution was of Joseph Rudolph Wood in July 2014.

Brnovich said of the more than 100 death row inmates in the state, 20 have exhausted their appeals.

“Some of their vicious crimes occurred as far back as the 1970s and it’s time for them to be held accountable,” Brnovich said in a letter to Ducey. “I write to inform you that the Attorney General’s Office has found a lawful supplier of pentobarbital that can make the drug available to our state.”

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“This is a significant development that removes all barriers for Arizona to resume executions,” Brnovich added. “I now urge you to act without delay, so Arizona may begin the process of securing the required pentobarbital.”

Ducey said at a news conference Thursday that he had just received the letter from Brnovich and will review it before deciding how to respond.

There have been no executions in Arizona since before Ducey took office in January 2015.

Executions in Arizona were put on hold after Wood’s lethal injection at the state prison in Florence.

The 55-year-old Wood was executed for the August 1989 shooting deaths of his estranged girlfriend and her father at a Tucson automotive shop.

Wood was given 15 doses of a two-drug combination over two hours. His attorney said the execution was botched.

Death by injection usually takes about 10 minutes, according to experts.

Then-Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer ordered a review of the state’s execution process after Wood’s ordeal.

The First Amendment Coalition of Arizona and state death row inmates filed a lawsuit later in 2014 against the state Department of Corrections, demanding authorities identify the source of the drugs used in lethal injections.

A judge ruled in September 2017 that Arizona does not have to reveal who provides its execution drug. A U.S. Justice Department opinion last year cleared the way for states to import pentobarbital.

Prosecutors have said pentobarbital doesn’t carry the risks of pain that some have associated with other lethal injection protocols.