Nevada Postpones Planned Execution Using Fentanyl


The midazolam would be used to sedate Dozier before he is killed using fentanyl, a drug at the forefront of the United States opioid epidemic that was also allegedly obtained illicitly.

Dozier has said that he wishes to be executed and that being put to death is better than spending the rest of his life in prison.

A Nevada prisons spokeswoman did not comment. "It is deeply troubling that Nevada government officials are barreling ahead with execution when the chances of torturing Dozier are so high".

"I would say he and his family had prepared themselves", Ericsson said. "He found out right about six hours before that it was postponed again". That raised concerns among death penalty experts about whether Dozier would be unconscious enough not to react to pain when fentanyl was administered.

Sandoz produces the paralytic cisatracurium and the synthetic opioid fentanyl, which are two of the three drugs Nevada had planned to use on Dozier in a first-of-its-kind combination.

Pharmaceutical companies have resisted the use of their drugs in executions for 10 years, citing legal and ethical concerns.

Since the US Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, Nevada has executed 12 offenders.

But a last-minute lawsuit filed by a drug company that doesn't want its product used in "botched" executions could derail Scott Raymond Dozier's scheduled Wednesday execution.

Others said that given the drug's lethality, the state's decision wasn't shocking. The legal maneuver ultimately failed and Arkansas went on to carry out four executions in eight days using that drug. It has resulted in states scrambling to find legally obtainable lethal injection drugs.

The use of midazolam remains controversial, as death penalty critics have long argued that it's not a painkilling anesthetic and that the condemned would feel tortuous pain from the drugs that come next.

Death-penalty watchers have pointed to inconsistent results with midazolam since the 2014 executions of Dennis McGuire in OH and Josph Rudolph Wood III in Arizona. Dozier also used names including Chad Wyatt. Dunham noted the 2014 executions of Dennis McGuire in OH and Joseph Rudolph Wood III in Arizona left both inmates gasping and snorting before they died. The same year, the execution of Joseph Wood in Arizona dragged on for more than an hour after he was dosed with midazolam but was not fully sedated and appeared in great distress.

This marks the second time that a pharmaceutical company has turned to the courts to block an execution.

Alvogen also claims the prison obtained its midazolam illegally, "despite a clear and unambiguous prior warning" from the company that they could not acquire it from company or a third party.

Scott Dozier was sentenced to die for the 2002 robbing, killing and dismembering of a 22 year old man in a Las Vegas motel. Miller's headless torso was later found stuffed in a suitcase in a bin, news media reported.

In 2005, Dozier was sentenced to 22 years in prison for shooting to death another drug-trade associate, whose body was found in 2002 in a shallow grave outside Phoenix. A witness there testified that Dozier used a sledgehammer to break Greene's limbs so the corpse would fit in a plastic tote that Dozier used to transport methamphetamine, equipment and chemicals.

Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez, who temporarily accepted Alvogen's appeal, scheduled a new hearing for September. The execution by lethal injection is set for 8 p.m. Wednesday at Ely State Prison. The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada had called on the state to halt the execution and accused state officials of an "egregious" lack of transparency regarding the execution.

Pharmaceutical companies have been resisting the use of their drugs in executions for 10 years, citing both legal and ethical concerns, but McKesson Corp. became the first company to sue in the USA last year over use of its product in an Arkansas execution, said Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center.

Alvogen notes that midazolam was used in several "botched" executions, including that of Clayton Lockett in 2014, where Lockett regained consciousness during his execution and died 40 minutes later of a heart attack.