Nevada plans to use 3 or 4 drugs for late-July execution
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada prison officials disclosed Thursday that they want to use a never-before-tried combination of drugs for the state’s first lethal injection in 15 years, including the powerful opioid fentanyl, the sedative ketamine and a heart-stopping salt, potassium chloride.
Deputy federal public defenders representing convicted murderer Zane Michael Floyd promised courtroom challenges of the plan.
A just-completed execution manual provided to a federal judge said a similar-acting drug, alfentanil, might substitute for fentanyl and potassium acetate might substitute for potassium chloride.
In an alternate four-drug procedure, the muscle paralytic cisatracurium would also be used to stop the condemned man’s ability to breathe before he receives the heart-stopping agent.
U.S. District Judge Richard Boulware II said he may issue a stay of execution ahead of a possible late-July death date to allow time to review the choice of drugs and the 65-page execution manual.
A state judge in Las Vegas on Monday gave the go-ahead for prosecutors and prison officials to plan Floyd’s execution for the week of July 26.
An exact date would be set after a death warrant is issued July 9.
Floyd, 45, does not want to die. But he lost state and federal appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear claims including that his mother’s use of alcohol while she was pregnant left him with a diminished mental capacity.
His defense attorneys, David Anthony and Brad Levenson, have promised to appeal again to the Nevada Supreme Court.
A court fight about the choice of drugs also could push back an execution date.
In 2017 and 2018, battles over the effects of three-drug procedure that the state Department of Corrections picked — including fentanyl and cisatracurium — promoted judges to call off the scheduled execution of twice-convicted murderer Scott Dozier.
Dozier had volunteered to be the first person put to death in Nevada since Daryl Mack in 2006. Mack was convicted of a 1988 rape and murder in Reno and asked for his sentence to be carried out.
Dozier killed himself in prison in January 2019, after expressing frustration with delays.
In his case, pharmaceutical companies fought to block the use of their products in an execution.
Randall Gilmer, the state attorney representing the Nevada Department of Corrections and prisons chief Charles Daniels, told Boulware on Thursday that Nevada does not intend to make public the source of drugs to be used in Floyd’s lethal injection.
Floyd also is seeking clemency Sept. 21 from the state Board of Pardons, made up of the governor, seven state Supreme Court justices and state attorney general.