The Latest: Crowd protests death penalty at Nebraska Capitol
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The Latest on Nebraska’s first execution since 1997 (all times local):
Death penalty opponents protested Nebraska’s execution of its longest-serving death row inmate at a rally outside the state Capitol.
The event drew more than 150 people early Tuesday evening, hours after state officials executed Carey Dean Moore for the 1979 slayings of two Omaha cab drivers.
Protesters toted signs that read, “How dare you kill in my name” and “Pro-Death Pete,” a reference to Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts, a death penalty supporter who helped pay for a petition drive to reinstate capital punishment after lawmakers abolished it in 2015. Passing cars honked at protesters.
State Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks of Lincoln says she and other state officials were complicit in the execution, which she described as “state-sanctioned murder.”
The event also included religious leaders and conservatives who oppose capital punishment.
A Nebraska death row inmate’s execution was briefly hidden from the media’s view after prison officials say the last of four lethal injection drugs was administered.
The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services said the drug was administered at 10:24 a.m. The prison warden lowered a curtain over the media’s viewing window at 10:39 a.m. and raised it again about 14 minutes later.
Department Chief of Staff Dawn-Renee Smith says the curtain was lowered after the execution team notified Department Director Scott Frakes that the last drug had been injected.
Smith says Frakes and Acting Warden Robert Madsen waited in the execution room for five minutes to ensure the drugs had taken effect before summoning the county coroner to confirm Carey Dean Moore’s death.
Moore was declared dead at 10:47 a.m. The viewing curtain was lifted again about six minutes later to reveal Moore’s body and remained open for 40 seconds.
Nebraska’s first execution since 1997 drew very few protesters to the state prison in Lincoln.
The holding area outside the Nebraska State Penitentiary was mostly empty around 10 a.m. Tuesday as death-row inmate Carey Dean Moore was killed by lethal injection.
A combined total of less than a dozen death penalty supporters and opponents gathered in the rain while the execution took place.
Death penalty opponents have planned a 5 p.m. rally outside the Nebraska Capitol.
The light turnout stands in contrast to the 1994 execution of Harold Lamont Otey, when more than 1,000 people created a raucous, party-like atmosphere. Otey was executed shortly after midnight in the electric chair, and some in the crowd sang the song “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” after it was announced.
A Nebraska death-row inmate remained mostly still but breathed heavily and gradually turned purple while state prison officials carried out his execution.
Four media witnesses including an Associated Press reporter saw Carey Dean Moore taking short, gasping breaths Tuesday after the lethal injections started.
His breaths then became deeper and more labored. His chest heaved several times before it went still. Over the course of several minutes, his face turned a slight shade of red and then purple. His eyelids briefly cracked open.
The Department of Correctional Services administered the first of the four drugs in the state’s lethal injection protocol at 10:24 a.m. Moore was declared dead at 10:47 a.m.
Moore was sentenced to death for the 1979 murders of two Omaha cab drivers.
Nebraska has carried out its first execution since 1997 with the lethal injection of Carey Dean Moore, who fatally shot two cab drivers almost four decades ago.
Moore was executed Tuesday with a combination of four drugs that had never been used before in an execution in the United States, including the powerful opioid fentanyl. The execution also marked the first lethal injection in Nebraska.
Moore was one of the nation’s longest-serving death row inmates. His death comes about three years after Nebraska lawmakers abolished the death penalty, only to have it reinstated the following year through a ballot initiative partially financed by Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts.
A German pharmaceutical company tried to block the execution by alleging the state had illicitly obtained at least one of its drugs. A federal judge refused to stall the execution.
Nebraska is set to carry out its first execution since 1997 and first-ever lethal injection using a never-before-tried combination of drugs.
Prison officials are scheduled to execute Carey Dean Moore late Tuesday morning at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln.
State officials will use a four-drug combination intended to sedate Moore, paralyze him and stop his heart.
The 60-year-old has stopped fighting the state’s efforts to execute him and told friends he is ready to die.
The execution was allowed to proceed despite a last-minute lawsuit from a German pharmaceutical company that accused state officials of improperly using its drugs.
Moore was condemned to die for the August 1979 shooting deaths of two Omaha cab drivers. He is one of the nation’s longest-serving death row inmates.