Missouri prepared for its first execution of the new year on Tuesday amid continued scrutiny of the secrecy surrounding its lethal injection protocols.
Walter Storey, 48, is scheduled for execution at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. He was convicted of beating and stabbing a neighbor woman to death in February 1990.
Storey’s attorneys have filed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court after lower courts rejected his bids to halt the execution.
The appeal claims that using a “compounded drug prepared by an unidentified pharmacist, in an unidentified laboratory, with unidentified ingredients,” is part of a secretive protocol that warrants a stay of execution.
Last month, the Supreme Court temporarily blocked the execution of three Oklahoma inmates who challenged that state’s lethal injection procedure.
Many states have been changing the drugs they use in executions in recent years. Compounded drugs are not subject to the usual oversight by the Food and Drug Administration and critics have speculated they may cause undue pain and suffering during an execution.
Storey is one of several Missouri death row inmates who filed a lawsuit against the state in 2012 alleging its lethal injection protocol violates a constitutional prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. That case is pending with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
(Reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City; Editing by Doina Chiacu)