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Drug shortage could delay state’s first execution in three years

Arizona is on the verge of executing its first convicted killer in three years.

The Arizona Supreme Court issued a death warrant Sept. 21 for Jeffrey Landrigan, who was sentenced to death for the 1989 stabbing and strangling of Chester Dyer of Phoenix. The killing occurred a month after Landrigan escaped from prison in Oklahoma where he was serving sentences for a 1982 murder and 1986 stabbing.

No date has been set for the execution, but it must be done within 35 to 60 days of the issuance of the warrant, according to Jennifer Liewer, Supreme Court spokeswoman.

The execution could be delayed because of an apparent shortage of one of the drugs used in the execution.

The court ordered the state to report by Oct. 1 whether it has a sufficient quantity of the drugs used in carrying out the execution or whether they can be obtained in the time the warrant is in effect.

Robert Comer’s May 22, 2007, execution was the last one in the state and the first one since 2000.

Dale Baich of the Capital Habeas Unit of the Federal Public Defender’s Office said he will plead to the Clemency Board to offer the governor a recommendation of life in prison and the governor can either accept or reject the recommendation.

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