A state senator who accuses death penalty opponents of using red herring issues to delay executions wants to take away some of their arguments. Columbia Senator Kurt Schaefer says lawsuits about cash payments for execution drugs and concern that the drug might cause the executed inmate some pain are diversions from discussions about the crimes that led to the execution. He proposes eliminating questions about lethal injection by removing all references in state law to the way inmates will be executed.
Missouri law specifies gas or lethal injection but the gas chamber is now an inoperable stop on tours of the old Missouri State Penitentiary. “For the Department of Corrections, any mechanism that the courts in this country have defined as acceptable, I don’t care what they use,” he says.
Schaefer is a former Assistant Attorney General who worked as a special prosecutor under then-Attorney General Jay Nixon. .
Lawyers trying to block next Tuesday night’s execution of Michael Taylor have questioned the legality of the way the state has obtained the execution drug used for the last three executions.