The Louisiana Department of Corrections (DoC) has switched to the same controversial lethal cocktail of drugs used to execute Ohio inmate Dennis McGuire earlier this month, just five days before convicted killer Christopher Sepulvado is due to be put to death.
The decision comes because the DoC has been unable to obtain pentobarbital, the drug typically used in the state, a spokesperson said.
"The reason for the change is that DOC has been unable to procure the drug, pentobarbital, specified in the one-drug protocol," spokeswoman Pam Laborde said in a statement. "The Department will continue to attempt to obtain the drug or drugs necessary for either of the two protocols."
Sepulvado was sentenced to death for murdering his six-year-old stepson at his Mansfield home in 1992. He is due to be executed on 5 February.
His legal team told CNN they would file an appeal today.
Fifty-three-year-old McGuire was the first prisoner to be executed on 16 Jnauary with a new method of lethal injection, using an untested mix of the sedative midazolam and the painkiller hydromorphone.
He had taken 26 minutes to die, the longest since the state resumed putting inmates to death in 1999, according to an Associated Press analysis of execution logs held by the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
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His daughter Amber watched her father's execution. “It was the most awful moment in my life to witness my dad’s execution,” Ms McGuire said in a statement later. “I can’t think of any other way to describe it than torture.”
The McGuire family has since said his prolonged execution was unconstitutional and should not be used again in a federal lawsuit filed on Friday.
The lawsuit also alleges the drug manufacturer that produced the medications used in the lethal injection illegally allowed them to be used for an execution and should be prohibited from making them available for capital punishment.
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