After a year full of botched executions, the two of the country's leading death penalty states will each execute a prisoner on Wednesday. According to the Associated Press, Missouri will execute Earl Ringo Jr. for murdering two people during a robbery. Later, Texas will execute Willie Trottie for killing his common law wife and her brother.
Once again, lawyers for the prisoners have based around the drug being used in the injections. Both states use a single dose of pentobarbital, but — as has become standard practice in executions — the states refuse to reveal the manufacturing source of the drugs, and have not been required to by courts.
Lawyers for Ringo have also asked for his life to be spared on the grounds that two Department of Corrections officials "lied under oath about use of the sedative midazolam in executions," according to the AP. The state says the drugs are administered before the executions to calm the prsioners down, but it is not part of the lethal injection process. According to Ringo's attorneys, the use of that drug could prevent Ringo from expressing any pain he feels.
Trottie's lawyers argue that the use of the drug pentobarbital could lead to pain for Trottie. As Vocativ notes, pentobarbital — a powerful sedative used to put animals to sleep — likely causes a painless death, but the sourcing still remains a point of contention for lawyers.
Assuming the two men's appeals are denied, Ringo will be executed at 12:01 a.m. and Trottie will be executed a few hours later. Each would be the eighth execution in the respective state this year.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.