Oklahoma Sets Execution Dates for Three Men

     OKLAHOMA CITY (CN) – Oklahoma reset executions for three men, with permission from the U.S. Supreme Court, which rejected claims that killing them with a new combination of lethal drugs constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.
     Richard Eugene Glossip, lead plaintiff in Glossip v. Gross , will die first, on Sept. 16.
     The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday also set execution dates of Oct. 7 for Robert Cole Jr. and Oct. 28 for John Marion Grant.
     The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on June 29 that killing the men with three drugs, beginning with the sedative midazolam, will not violate the Eighth Amendment.
     Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt immediately asked the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals for the death warrants.
     Executions beginning with midazolam were put on hold after Oklahoma used it for the first time on Clayton Lockett, who took 43 minutes to die of a heart attack, convulsing and gasping for breath, on April 29, 2014. Lockett spoke and tried to rise from the execution table after he had been declared unconscious.
     Glossip, Cole, Grant and Charles Warner then sued Oklahoma, which executed Warner in January this year.
     The Oklahoma District Court ruled, and the 10th Circuit agreed, that “the prisoners failed to identify a known and available alternative method of execution that presented a substantially less severe risk of pain,” the Supreme Court wrote in Glossip. Those courts also agreed that “the prisoners failed to establish a likelihood that the use of midazolam created a demonstrated risk of severe pain.”
     After capital punishment opponents succeeded in persuading large drug companies to stop supplying barbiturates for executions, states turned to smaller, compounding pharmacies to supply them with different drugs.
     Oklahoma killed Lockett, and will kill the three men, with midazolam to make them unconscious, followed by a paralytic, then potassium chloride to stop their hearts.
     Justice Samuel Alito wrote the majority opinion for the Supreme Court. Justices Scalia and Thomas both wrote concurring opinions, Scalia joining with Thomas and Thomas joining with Scalia.
     Justice Breyer wrote a dissenting opinion, joined by Justice Ginsburg, and Justice Sotomayor wrote in dissent, joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer and Kagan.
     Glossip, a hotel manager, was convicted of paying a handyman to beat their boss to death with a baseball bat in 1997. The handyman confessed and was spared the death penalty for testifying against Glossip, who maintains to this day that he is innocent.
     Cole in 2002 was convicted of killing his 9-month-old daughter because her crying annoyed him as he played video games.
     Grant was convicted of stabbing a fellow inmate to death in 1998. Grant was in the 18th year of a sentence for armed robbery.

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