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Drug Questions Won’t|Derail Missouri Execution

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (CN) - Gov. Jeremiah Nixon says Missouri is prepared to carry out an execution scheduled for Feb. 26, despite questions about the drug to be used in the lethal injection.

The Apothecary Shoppe, based in Tulsa, Okla., filed documents in Oklahoma City Federal Court late Monday saying it would not provide pentobarbital to the Missouri Department of Corrections. The Apothecary Shoppe had provided the drug to Missouri for the state's previous three executions.

At issue is the execution of Michael Taylor, who pleaded guilty to abducting, raping and stabbing to death a 15-year-old Kansas City girl in 1989.

Taylor's attorneys sued The Apothecary Shoppe to stop it from providing the execution drug to Missouri. They questioned whether The Apothecary Shoppe can legally produce and deliver compounded pentobarbital; claimed that the pharmacy is not registered as a drug manufacturer with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration; and that it would violate federal law by delivering the drug across state lines.

Taylor's attorneys claimed that if stored improperly, pentobarbital could cause Taylor to suffer an excruciatingly painful death. They cited recent executions in Oklahoma and South Dakota that used the drug, in which it appeared that the inmate suffered prolonged pain during the execution.

The Apothecary Shoppe agreed not to provide the drug in an agreement to dismiss Taylor's complaint, The Associated Press reported.

Nixon declined whether to say whether Missouri would use a different drug, but said the execution could go on without major changes in execution protocol.

A Missouri Department of Corrections official said the state has a backup supply of the sedative midazolam and painkiller hydromorphone for executions.

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