Oklahoma preps for first execution with controversial drug since high court ruling

Richard Glossip is scheduled to be executed at 3 p.m. on Wednesday for hiring a man to kill his manager. Mr. Glossip's attorneys say that he was wrongfully convicted.

Sue Ogrocki/AP
Ericka Glossip-Hodge signs the guest book in the Governor's office in Oklahoma City, Tuesday. Her father, Richard Glossip, is scheduled to be executed Wednesday. The Glossip family and supporters rallied at the state Capitol, asking for a 60-day stay.

Oklahoma is preparing to carry out a momentous execution on Wednesday, the first one since the June decision by the US Supreme Court to allow the state to use the controversial drug midazolam in its lethal injection formula.

Attorneys for Richard Glossip had argued that the drug caused an intolerable level of pain during the execution process.

Just hours before the 3 p.m. execution of Mr. Glossip today, his lawyers are still fighting for his innocence, claiming that they have new evidence to prove it.

Mr. Glossip was found guilty of arranging the 1997 murder of the owner of an Oklahoma City motel he was managing.

Lawyers for Glossip and two other Oklahoma death row inmates had halted his January executions by challenging Oklahoma’s use of midazolam.

“Midazolam is an inappropriate drug to use in executions. The scientific evidence tells us that even the proper administration of midazolam can result in an inhumane execution,” the lawyer for the inmates, Dale Baich, said in a statement at the time, according to reports from The Christian Science Monitor's Warren Richey.

But the nation's high court didn’t agree. In a 5-to-4 decision, it ruled to allow the state to continue using the drug, noting that Oklahoma had increased its midazolam dosage from 100 milligrams to 500 milligrams and adopted other techniques to make the drug more efficiently lethal, reported the Monitor.

Glossip’s lawyers say that there is no physical evidence to tie him to the crime. He was convicted largely on the testimony of Justin Sneed, 19 at the time, who said Mr. Glossip hired him to carry out the murder. Mr. Sneed is serving a life sentence, having avoided the death penalty by testifying against Glossip.

As of Tuesday night, Glossip lost his telephone and visitation privileges, though he is allowed to talk to his lawyers. He will await the execution in a special cell at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. He is allowed to have a pen and paper, religious items, a book or magazine, and toiletries including soap, toothpaste, a toothbrush, and a comb.

His last meal was chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, and a dinner roll from Chili's; two orders of fish and chips from Long John Silver's; and a strawberry malt and Baconator cheeseburger from Wendy's.

This report includes material from the Associated Press and Reuters. 

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