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Missouri executes first inmate since Supreme Court ruling

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Missouri on Tuesday put to death a man convicted of murdering a 19-year-old woman he encountered in a traffic accident in 2001, in the first execution in the United States since the Supreme Court upheld the use of a lethal injection drug.

David Zink, 55, was pronounced dead at 7:41 p.m. CDT after receiving a fatal dose of drugs at a state prison, said Mike O’Connell, spokesman for the Missouri Department of Corrections.

“David Zink callously took a young woman’s life, and it is fitting he pay by losing his own,” Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said in a statement.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 29 that a lethal injection drug used by Oklahoma did not violate the U.S. Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

The high court did not directly address the constitutionality of the death penalty in the United States, but provoked a caustic debate among the justices.

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Zink, who was the fifth person executed in Missouri in 2015, was convicted of killing Amanda Morton of Strafford, Missouri.

Police found Morton’s body in a cemetery. She had been strangled, her neck had been broken and her spinal cord sliced with a knife, according to court records.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday denied several appeals from Zink’s lawyers to halt his execution, including claims that Missouri officials would be violating federal law by using pentobarbital obtained from a compounding pharmacy.

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Zink had been the named plaintiff in a lawsuit brought by a group of Missouri death row inmates who allege the state’s lethal-injection protocol is unconstitutional and creates a substantial risk of severe pain.

The allegations are part of a national debate about the use of compounded drugs in U.S. executions amid a shortage of traditionally used pharmaceuticals.

Zink had previously been imprisoned for abducting and raping a woman. According to court records, he told authorities in a videotaped confession that he rear-ended Morton’s car on an exit ramp, then abducted her and killed her because he feared he would be sent back to prison.

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(Reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City, Mo., and David Bailey in Minneapolis; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Peter Cooney)


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Rush Limbaugh argues Kamala Harris and Barack Obama can’t be considered African-American

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Rush Limbaugh, the controversial radio host with a long history of racially charged comments, on Monday described Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and former President Barack Obama as not being truly "black."

In a clip captured by Media Matters for America, Limbaugh can be heard using a mocking tone to describe Harris and Obama — as well as Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich. — as people who want to be "victims" so they depict Trump as "this big man bully."

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Mueller is signaling he’ll be tough witness — and it could play right into the GOP’s hands

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Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller is sending a very clear message: He doesn’t want to testify.

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Maddow details how Stephen Miller’s backstory makes his anti-immigrant fantasy even more horrifying

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MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow interviewed the uncle of White House advisor Stephen Miller on Monday to detail the family's fascinating backstory.

"It begins at the turn of the 20th century, in a dirt-floor shack in the village of Antopol, a shtetl of subsistence farmers in what is now Belarus. Beset by violent anti-Jewish pogroms and forced childhood conscription in the Czar’s army, the patriarch of the shack, Wolf-Leib Glosser, fled a village where his forebears had lived for centuries and took his chances in America," Dr. David Glosser explained in Politico.

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