Possible Nevada execution date being pushed to late July
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Prosecutors in Las Vegas are changing from early June to late July the date they’re proposing for the lethal injection of a mass murderer who would be the first convicted killer put to death in Nevada in 15 years.
The date change emerged Friday in a court filing submitted to a federal judge considering an order to stop and review plans to execute Zane Michael Floyd.
Floyd is fighting his execution for the 1999 shotgun killings of four people and the wounding of a fifth at a Las Vegas supermarket. His attorneys did not immediately respond Friday to messages.
Deputy Nevada Attorney General Randall Gilmer said in the court document that District Attorney Steve Wolfson still plans to ask a Clark County District Court judge next Friday to issue an execution warrant for Floyd, but will seek the week of July 26 instead of the week of June 7.
Deputy Clark County District Attorney Alexander Chen confirmed the change and noted that Nevada prisons chief Charles Daniels told U.S. District Judge Richard Boulware II on Thursday that while he would carry out an execution if a warrant is issued, he would like more time to plan.
“We agree that’s the best course,” Chen said.
“There’s no do-over button in executions,” Daniels had testified.
State law gives the prisons chief primary responsibility for an execution. But Daniels told Boulware he has not finalized plans for an execution, including the drugs that would be used, and has not yet drawn up protocol. Daniels said also that prison officials would benefit from practice to correct possible mistakes.
Floyd’s attorneys, deputy federal public defenders David Anthony and Brad Levenson, are raising concerns about a rush toward a botched and inhumane execution. They want Boulware to stop and review the process and require Daniels to make the execution protocol public.
The court fight is shadowed by delays of an execution that was scheduled twice -- in 2017 and 2018 — for convicted killer Scott Dozier.
Dozier pleaded with the state to put him to death, but his lethal injection was stopped twice by court fights over the process and the drugs. Dozier killed himself in prison in January 2019.
In court documents, Gilmer has raised concerns about a “media sideshow” and “cancel culture” if the state reveals the drugs it would use in Floyd’s case, and the names of manufacturers. The state attorney argued that only after the plan is developed can Floyd challenge the process.
Boulware scheduled another hearing Monday.
Floyd, 45, a former U.S. Marine, is not a volunteer for execution. He was sentenced in 2000 to die, and also was convicted of raping a woman at his parents’ home hours before the deadly shooting rampage.
Although his lawyers filed documents in state court suggesting he could be executed by firing squad, lethal injection is the only capital punishment method Nevada allows.
The last person put to death in Nevada was Daryl Mack in 2006. He had been convicted in a 1988 rape and murder in Reno and asked for his sentence to be carried out.