Nevada to execute inmate with fentanyl in U.S


A Nevada inmate slated to die by a three-drug lethal injection combination never before used in the USA has said repeatedly he wants his sentence carried out and he doesn't care if it's painful.

But the ruling by Clark County District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez, and the stay that followed from Judge Jennifer Togliatti, left uncertain when his execution could proceed. A previous challenge in Arkansas was unsuccessful.

They include Sandoz, producer of the muscle-paralysis drug cisatracurium, and Pfizer, which a year ago attempted to reclaim fentanyl from Nevada but was rebuffed.

Dozier has said repeatedly he wants to die and doesn't care if it's painful.

Nevada has struggled to find drugs to carry out Dozier's execution because of resistance from manufacturers.

Over the last decade, various American pharmaceutical companies have opposed the use of their products in lethal injections, causing a decrease in executions due to a lack of drug components.

Nevada death row inmate Scott Dozier, right, confers with Lori Teicher, a federal public defender involved in his case, in 2017.

"The Midazolam has been used in other executions in half a dozen other states with really bad consequences- seriously prolonged executions, with gasping really tortuous effects", says Nancy Hart with Nevada Coalition Against the Death Penalty.

Jordan T. Smith, an assistant Nevada solicitor general, countered at Wednesday's hearing that Nevada didn't put up a "smokescreen" or do anything wrong in getting the drugs. "Nevada Department of Corrections to use our midazolam product in an execution, we are exploring all potential avenues, including legal recourse, to prevent the improper use of our product in this particular execution", Alvogen spokesman Halldór Kristmannsson said. It stated that it wanted nothing to do with executions, and accused the state of Arkansas past year of obtaining some of the drugs used in lethal injections under false pretenses.

A U.S. court indefinitely suspended the execution of a murder convict after a pharmaceutical company issued an appeal against its product being used as part of the lethal injection.

The first Nevada execution to use the synthetic opioid fentanyl could be stalled thanks to a lawsuit from a pharmaceutical company.

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Lawyers for Alvogen alleged that Nevada officials acquired Alvogen medicines "illicitly and through subterfuge", in the process violating state laws meant to tackle the opioid epidemic and prevent the misuse of unsafe drugs.

The judge ruled that based on that letter, Alvogen had a reasonable probability of winning its lawsuit, and she issued the temporary restraining order against the use of the drug.

A spokeswoman for Nevada Department of Corrections, Brooke Santina, told the Reno Gazette Journal the agency would not comment on the pending litigation.

According to the corrections department's execution manual, the drugs will be given through multiple syringes at a rate three times given to a patient who is prepped for surgery.

At the time of the trial, Dozier was already serving a 22-year sentence in Arizona for killing and dismembering 26-year-old Jasen Green in another drug-related murder.

"Not one response was received", according to a 2016 report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The pharmaceutical company also raised fears that the drug could lead to a botched execution, citing cases that apparently went awry elsewhere around the country.

Question marks remain as to whether drug firms can demand their products are not used in executions if states have managed to obtain them.

There's a limit to how much artwork and exercise a person can do in prison, Dozier said in court hearings and letters to Clark County District Judge Jennifer Togliatti, who postponed his execution a year ago. A witness testified that Dozier used a sledgehammer to break Greene's limbs so the corpse would fit in a plastic tote that Dozier used to transport methamphetamine, equipment and chemicals.

Dozier, who attempted suicide in the past, has said he prefers execution to life behind bars. Miller's head was never found and he was identified by tattoos on his torso. They argued the untried three-drug combination would be less humane than putting down a pet.

Miller had come to Nevada from Phoenix to buy ingredients to make meth.