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Supreme Court Stays Oklahoma Executions

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

The unsigned, apparently unanimous, decision stays the executions based on the state's planned use of the sedative midazolam in the procedures.

The order is the latest in a series of actions by the justices on executions in Oklahoma. Last week, by a 5-4 vote, the high court refused to postpone the execution of Charles Warner. Warner was the first inmate executed in the state after the horribly botched lethal injection of Clayton Lockett in April 2014.

Days later, however, the justices decided to grant review of the three inmates' challenge to the same drug protocol used in putting their fellow inmate to death.

State officials then asked the court for a postponement, either until the case was heard and decided, or until they could find an alternative method of carrying out the executions with a revised drug protocol.

Oklahoma had been scheduled to execute the first of the three inmates on Thursday. The second was scheduled to die in February, and the third, in March.

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