US Supreme Court Halts Missouri Execution
May 21, 2014

(AP) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday halted the execution of a Missouri inmate with a rare medical condition who challenged the state’s refusal to disclose the source of its lethal injection drug.

The justices said a lower federal court needs to take another look at the case of Russell Bucklew, whose execution would have been the nation’s first since last month’s botched execution in Oklahoma. Bucklew had been scheduled to be put to death at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday for the 1996 killing of a man during a violent crime spree, but Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito blocked the execution late Tuesday to give the full court time to consider the matter.

By law, Missouri has a 24-hour window to carry out a scheduled execution, and the ruling from the full Supreme Court Wednesday evening meant the state Supreme Court would have to set a new execution date if Missouri is to carry out the punishment.

Minutes after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, people who were to have witnessed Bucklew’s execution on the state’s behalf were released. Eric Slusher, a spokesman for Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, confirmed that no further litigation was expected Wednesday.

“This is something the attorney general’s office is going to have to respond to and take up in court. As a result, we will stand down tonight,” Missouri Department of Corrections spokesman Mike O’Connell told reporters.

Bucklew, 46, suffers from a rare congenital condition – cavernous hemangioma – that causes weakened and malformed blood vessels, as well as tumors in his nose and throat. His attorneys say this and the secrecy surrounding the state’s lethal injection drug combine to make for an unacceptably high chance of something going wrong during his execution. He told The Associated Press last week that he was scared of what might happen during the process.

Nixon Says Bucklew Execution Should Proceed
May 19, 2014

. (AP) – Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said Monday that he doesn’t see any reason to halt the execution of an inmate whose attorneys claim he could suffer during the lethal injection because of a rare medical condition.

Russell Bucklew, who was convicted of killing a southeast Missouri man during a crime spree in 1996, is scheduled to be the first person put to death in the U.S. since a botched execution in Oklahoma last month. His injection is set for 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

“This guy committed very, very heinous crimes and while it’s a difficult and challenging part of this job, we’ll continue to move forward unless a court says otherwise,” Nixon told The Associated Press in an interview.

Bucklew, 46, has a congenital condition known as cavernous hemangioma that causes weakened and malformed blood vessels, as well as tumors in his nose and throat. His attorneys, in several court filings and interviews, have said he could experience a great amount of suffering during the execution process, and Bucklew told the AP in a phone interview last week that he is scared of what might happen.

None of the six inmates executed since Missouri switched to pentobarbital last year have shown outward signs of pain or suffering. But when Oklahoma inmate Clayton Lockett’s execution went awry on April 29, it prompted renewed concern over lethal injection

Citing Inmate’s Bad Health, Condemned Man Seeks Execution Stay
May 15, 2014

(AP) – Attorneys for convicted killer Russell Bucklew are asking a federal court to put his execution on hold, citing concerns that lethal injection could cause a painful death due to a rare medical condition.

The stay request was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Missouri.

Bucklew is scheduled to die at 12:01 a.m. May 21 for killing a romantic rival during a violent crime spree in southeast Missouri in 1996.

The execution would be the first since Oklahoma inmate Clayton Lockett’s vein collapsed and he suffered a fatal heart attack more than 40 minutes after his execution began last month.

Bucklew’s attorneys say he suffers from cavernous hemangioma, which causes weakened and malformed blood vessels.

A spokeswoman for Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster declined comment.

Attorney Warns Next Missouri Execution Could Be Bitched, Too
May 1, 2014

The lawyer for the a Missouri inmate scheduled to be executed later this month says there is “a high likelihood” the execution of Russell Bucklew could be “botched”.

Attorney Cheryl Pilate says Bucklew’s medical condition, he had badly damaged blood vessel in his head, could complicate the scheduled execution by lethal injection.

“He can bleed on a very regular, and sometimes daily, basis. What could happen in an execution is truly horrifying to consider,” she said.

Pilate’s prediction comes just days after the execution of an Oklahoma inmate had problems. The troubles in Oklahoma have led calls to have capital punishment re-examined in the US.

Pilate also says Missouri should be more transparent about it’s execution process.

She says the chemicals Missouri uses to provide the lethal injection are not properly regulated. She adds that the lethal injection chemical could, in Bucklew’s case, cause problems.

That’s because he is already on medication for the blood vessel problem.

“The likelihood of a botched execution, like I said, involves a number of things. Heavy bleeding during the execution. Choking on the blood, impaired circulation of the drug. If the drug doesn’t circulate properly, it may not have the proper effect. That could lead to a prolonged and very painful execution,” Pilate claimed.

Pilate also says she is considering asking the courts to video tape Bucklew’s execution if it comes to that.

She says that will provide an accurate record of what happens when his death sentenced is executed.