Feeds

Death row inmate claims allergy to lethal injection

No guarantee of 'quick and painless execution'

The essential guide to IT transformation

An Ohio death row inmate is attempting to postpone his imminent appointment with the lethal injection gurney by claiming a possible allergy to the anaesthetic used by the state to dispatch its condemned prisoners.

Darryl DurrDarryl Durr (pictured) is sentenced to die next Tuesday for the 1988 rape and murder of 16-year-old Angel Vincent. He faces a single injection of thiopental sodium, rather than the traditional three-chemical cocktail used for such executions. Ohio last year became the first state to switch to the one-hit lethal anaesthesia method.

His lawyers, however, say that they've found evidence of Durr's allergy in his 800-page prison medical records. If correct, this compromises Ohio's commitment to suffering-free capital punishment.

Defense attorney Kathleen McGarry said: "One of the things the Ohio Constitution guarantees is that he has a quick and painless execution.

"If he's going to react to the anesthetic drugs in such a manner that he's going to have a violent reaction, either vomiting or seizures or whatever the spectrum is that could happen, then obviously the execution has problems."

US District Court Judge Gregory Frost has allowed Columbia University Medical Center anesthesiologist Mark Heath to review the records. Heath wrote in support of Durrs' request: "An allergic or other adverse reaction to some component of a general anesthetic might present a serious problem for an execution by lethal injection."

Heath did, though, say "it would depend on the drug that precipitated the reaction and the nature of the reaction".

Heath's conclusions are due soon, AP notes, and if the findings are favourable to his case, Durr could use them "to try to stop or delay the execution, a request the state would likely oppose".

Ohio does have a back-up plan in the event of a successful objection: an untried sedative and painkiller combination, which when injected into muscle is "supposed to produce death".

AP cites two previous lethal injection executions which proved problematic. In Texas in 1989, Stephen McCoy "reacted violently to the chemicals and began choking and seizing, despite being restrained". A state official later admitted "a heavier dose might have been warranted".

In 1992, Oklahoma prisoner Robyn Lee Parks "also had a violent reaction as the muscles in his jaw, neck, and abdomen began to spasm about two minutes after the drugs started to flow".

The cause of both reactions is "unknown", AP concludes. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.