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Tuesday, June 18, 2024 | Back issues
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Death-Row Inmate Files Last-Minute Appeal

HOUSTON (CN) - A Texas inmate scheduled to die by lethal injection today asked a federal judge to spare his life until prison officials produce evidence their drugs will not cause him "excruciating pain."

Robert Charles Ladd sued Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials Brad Livingston and William Stephens, Huntsville prison warden James Jones and Unknown Executioners, on Jan. 27 in Federal Court.

Ladd's co-plaintiff, Texas inmate Garcia Glen White, was scheduled to die by lethal injection Wednesday, but the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals stayed his execution.

White's lawyers claim he may have been impaired by habitual cocaine use when he waived his right to an attorney during police questioning, but the Court of Criminal Appeals did not explain its ruling, according to The Associated Press.

White was sentenced to death for fatally stabbing twin teenage girls in 1998.

Upon getting word from the appeals court, White dropped his request for a temporary injunction in the lawsuit he filed with Ladd.

Ladd was sentenced to death in 1997 for murdering Vicki Ann Gardner, whom he beat to death with a hammer inside her Tyler home before setting her body on fire and stealing her electronics and jewelry.

Ladd opens his lawsuit with a reference to the Supreme Court's Jan. 23 decision to review Oklahoma's lethal injection methods.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday delayed the scheduled execution of three Oklahoma death-row inmates, pending the outcome of a hearing before the justices in late April.

Ladd claims Texas is running low on its supply of compounded pentobarbital, the only drug it uses now to kill inmates, and that it "recently purchased large quantities of midazolam, hydromorphone, and potassium chloride."

The sedative midazolam is of particular concern, Ladd says, because it was used in the botched execution of Oklahoma inmate Clayton Lockett in April 2014.

After three drugs were administered to Lockett he "he began to speak, raised his head, writhed, groaned and took 43 minutes to die, reportedly from a heart attack," according to Ladd's complaint.

Lockett's execution is one of five bungled lethal injection executions that Ladd cites in his lawsuit.

Ladd also questions the viability of the pentobarbital that Texas has, claiming the state's supply "over the past six months has been in constant flux, with vials coming and going in odd increments" and an expired batch could cause him excruciating pain.

He asked U.S. District Judge John Rainey to stay his execution until Texas can show its methods will not subject him to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

Rainey denied Ladd's request for an injunction Tuesday, and Ladd appealed to the 5th Circuit in New Orleans.

If the 5th Circuit does not step in Ladd, will be executed at 6:00 p.m. Central time on Thursday.

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