Missouri’s Democratic Governor Jay Nixon has nixed what was to be the nation’s first execution by propofol (the drug that killed Michael Jackson) after the European Union threatened to limit the supply of the popular anesthetic if it was used for that purpose.
Although a staunch support of the death penalty, Nixon decided not to risk endangering patients across the United States by being responsible for any shortages of the drug, and has ordered his state’s Department of Corrections to come up with an alternative way to perform a lethal injection for convicted murderer Allen Nicklasson on October 23rd.
Nicklasson was sentenced to death for the 1994 killing of businessman Richard Drummond, after Drummond had stopped to help him and two others when their car broke down.
“As governor, my interest is in making sure justice is served and public health is protected. That is why, in light of issues raised surrounding the use of propofol in executions, I have directed that the forthcoming execution of Allen Nicklasson will not proceed as planned,” announced Nixon during a public statement.
Execution by lethal injection gained popularity during the late 20th century as a more “humane” and less painful method, supplanting hanging, firing squad, gas chamber, electrocution and even beheading, and is not the most common form of capital punishment in the US. It is usually administered by injecting the condemned person with a fatal “cocktail” consisting of a barbiturate, paralytic, and potassium solution, which is designed to first put the person to sleep, then respectively stopping the breathing and heart.