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Inmate’s lawyer seeks execution stay over drugs

At attorney again sought to delay next week’s scheduled execution of an Arizona death-row inmate who was convicted of molesting and killing a 9-year-old Yuma girl in 1988.

In a filing made public Wednesday, attorney Daniel Maynard asked the Arizona Supreme Court to stay the June 30 execution of Richard Lynn Bible, arguing the state Department of Corrections won’t tell him where or when it obtained the drugs that will be used in the execution or provide the qualifications of those who will be injecting them.

“Allowing such an unconstitutional execution to proceed would undermine the public’s confidence in Arizona’s criminal justice system,” Maynard wrote.

The lawyer said Bible is entitled to know what chemicals will be used, where they were obtained, the strength of the dosage that will be administered, and the date the chemicals were manufactured.

“This information is necessary to determine if the substances are being used in a lethal quantity sufficient to cause death and not violate the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment,” Maynard said in the filing.

Bible, 49, is set to be executed June 30 at the state prison in Florence.

In a letter dated June 14, the department told Maynard it would use the drug pentobarbital as part of its three-drug execution method.

The department did not provide details in the letter about when and where it obtained the drug, but a department invoice obtained by The Associated Press shows it received a shipment of pentobarbital and other execution drugs in September from Los Angeles. The source of the drug was redacted.

Department of Corrections spokesman Barrett Marson said the three drugs it uses in executions is part of public record, and the identity of the medical team is kept confidential by law. The department also lists the qualifications required to join the medical team in its policies published online.

The department used pentobarbital instead of sodium thiopental for the first time in its most recent execution of Donald Edward Beaty on May 25 and plans to use it indefinitely.

Beaty’s attorneys unsuccessful sought to stop his execution based on a challenge involving the drug.

At least 10 states have switched to pentobarbital or are considering a switch as part of their three-drug methods because of a nationwide shortage of sodium thiopental, a sedative. Its lone U.S. manufacturer stopped making the drug in 2009 then dropped plans to resume production earlier this year.

Sodium thiopental and pentobarbital are fast-acting barbiturates that in massive intravenous doses will quickly stop breathing and cause death in 10 to 15 minutes.

Arizona and other states turned to England to obtain doses of sodium thiopental that was not approved for medical use by the Food and Drug Administration. Death row inmates in Arizona, California and Tennessee sued over the imported drugs.

Bible has been on death row since 1990 after being convicted of kidnapping, molesting and fatally bludgeoning 9-year-old Jennifer Wilson of Yuma while she was on vacation with her family in Flagstaff. Her naked body was found three weeks after she went missing, hands tied behind her back with a shoe lace, and her underwear in a nearby tree.

Blood found on Bible’s shirt was consistent with Jennifer’s, and multiple items found in a car that Bible had stolen were found near the girl’s body, including vodka bottles, cigars and rubber bands. Bible has always said he was innocent of the crime.

Maynard also is seeking a stay of execution at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, arguing that Bible should have more time to get DNA testing on hairs that were used as evidence in his trial. Prosecutors say Bible could have requested further DNA testing long ago and there is overwhelming evidence of guilt that has nothing to do with the hair of Bible or Jennifer.
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  1. Anyone who strangles and murders a 9 year old girl doesn’t need to be reassured of the when and where of the drugs that are going to be used to execute him. If he’s guilty of this (which seems highly likely), then justice needs to be served.

  2. This sick dirty scum bag will pay for what he has done, if he is remorseful for what he has done than he will accept his fate, however, he is a true coward who showed an innocent little girl no mercy, If he gets a stay, than he is only going to prolong his fate, he is going to be strapped to the gurney eventually no matter what he argues.

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