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Oklahoma Appeals Court Grants Indefinite Stay Of All Scheduled Executions

Oklahoma death row inmate Richard Eugene Glossip
Oklahoma Department of Corrections
Oklahoma death row inmate Richard Eugene Glossip

Updated Oct. 2, 11:54 a.m.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has granted the state's request to indefinitely stay three scheduled executions, citing the mix-up over lethal injection drugs that occurred just minutes before condemned inmate Richard Glossip was supposed to be put to death.

"Having fully considered the State's request, we find for good cuae shown, the executions set for October 7, 2015 - Benjamin Robert Cole; October 28, 2015 - John Marion Grant; and November 6, 2015 - Richard Euguene Glossip are indefinitely stayed," the court wrote.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt requested the indefinite stay Thursday after the Oklahoma Department of Corrections received potassium acetate instead of potassium chloride. The latter is the third drug to be used in lethal injections under the Department of Corrections' revised execution protocol. 

Oklahoma corrections officials are looking into what exactly happened on Wednesday to cause the mix-up - specifically, how they got the wrong drug, and DOC's internal procedures after learning of the issue.

Original Post

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt filed a petition on Thursday with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to request an indefinite stay for all of the state's scheduled executions. At the same time, the Oklahoma Republican announced he is launching an inquiry into why the Department of Corrections did not have the correct drugs on hand for Richard Glossip's scheduled execution on Wednesday. Gov. Mary Fallin issued a last minute stay of execution for Glossip when the DOC revealed they had obtained potassium acetate instead of potassium chloride.

"Until my office knows more about these circumstances and gains confidence that DOC can carry out executions in accordance with the execution protocol, I am asking the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to issue an indefinite stay of all scheduled executions," Pruitt said in a written statement.

Pruitt's request for an indefinite stay applies to the scheduled October 6 execution of Benjamin Cole, the October 28 execution of John Marion Grant, and Glossip's execution on November 6.

Glossip was minutes away from his scheduled execution on Wednesday when Fallin issued her 37 day stay. According to a report in the Oklahoman, a doctor noticed the drug error. Oklahoma's execution protocol uses a three drug combination and was upheld this summer by the U.S. Supreme Court, but the use of potassium acetate instead of potassium chloride would stray from the protocol. Potassium chloride is the third drug used in executions and stops the inmate's heart.

Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
Jacob McCleland spent nine years as a reporter and host at public radio station KRCU in Cape Girardeau, Mo. His stories have appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered, Here & Now, Harvest Public Media and PRI’s The World. Jacob has reported on floods, disappearing languages, crop duster pilots, anvil shooters, Manuel Noriega, mule jumps and more.
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