Despite continuing shortages of the drug used in lethal injection executions in
Texas, the Texas prison system has enough to carry out scheduled executions.
According to a recent report in The Guardian, the Texas Department of Criminal
Justice is running low in one of these drugs.
The British newspaper reports that TDCJ only has enough pentobarbital, a
sedative that is 1 of the 3 drugs used in the mixture for lethal injections,
left to carry out 6 more executions before the supply runs out thus delaying
future death sentences from being carried out.
The supply is low because Lundbeck, a Danish company that manufactures
pentobarbital, blocked the sale of the drug to U.S. prisons on July 1, 2011,
rather than see it used to carry out capital punishment.
The Guardian reports that Maya Foa, an investigator with the human rights group
Reprieve, has calculated that Texas has 27 vials of pentobarbital in stock and
that the state needs 2 vials per execution and 2 more in reserve in case it is
needed. According to Foa’s calculations, that is enough to carry out around 6
TDCJ spokesman Jason Clark said the agency could not disclose more information
on the subject because of a ruling in the case the Texas Department of Public
Safety vs. Cox Texas Newspapers, which protects public disclosure of highly
intimate facts, but he did issue a statement on The Guardian’s report.
“There are several inaccuracies in the Guardian article; however, consistent
with past practice, the agency will only confirm that we have enough drugs on
hand to carry out all scheduled executions,” Clark said.
There are 6 executions on the schedule to be carried out this year in Texas.
The next offender set to die is Anthony Bartee on Feb. 28. Bartee, a convicted
rapist, was found guilty and sentenced to death for the 1996 murder of a
37-year-old man in San Antonio.
(source: Huntsville Item)