Now that nine death row inmates have challenged Arkansas's new lethal injection law and urged a judge to rule that the Department of Correction can't use a 2013 execution law to put them to death, Governor Mike Beebe has put execution dates on pause.
Even though the attorney general has asked the governor to set execution dates for the inmates, Beebe spokesman Matt DeCample told KUAR News on Tuesday that the governor's decision comes as the Department of Correction plans to rewrite its lethal injection procedures and the inmates' case works its way through court.
“We are not going to set execution dates for some time, because of the legal matters that are still involved,” said DeCample. “We now have our new death penalty statute being challenged in court and we have to reexamine our drug protocol because of issues with the supplier. Although we have letters from the attorney general, we’re not going to be setting [execution] dates anytime in the immediate future.”
The Associated Press first reported Monday that the Department of Correction plans to rewrite its lethal injection procedure to include a different drug.
The state previously said it planned to use phenobarbital in executions, even though that drug has never been used in a U.S. lethal injection.
Arkansas last executed a condemned prisoner in 2005.