The Supreme Court denied Georgia murderer Andrew DeYoung's motion for stay of execution on Wednesday. DeYoung's case has been the subject of national headlines after a Fulton County judge ordered the state to videotape the execution to gather evidence in Death Row inmate Gregory Walker's appeal claiming that pentobarbital causes unnecessary pain and suffering in the lethal injection process.
Although the execution was originally scheduled for Wednesday, July 20, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Georgia Department of Corrections delayed the DeYoung execution 24 hours to address the videotaping issue.
Georgia used pentobarbital, a sedative traditionally used to euthanize animals, for the first time in June in the execution of Roy Blankenship. Previously, states used sodium thiopental as the first drug in a series of three during the execution; they switched to pentobarbital after the manufacturer stopped making sodium thiopental.
Witnesses at Blankenship’s execution said that Blankenship, “jerked his head several times throughout the procedure and muttered after the pentobarbital was injected into his veins,” reports ABC News.
Bryan Kammer, a lawyer involved in the cases of Blankenship, DeYoung, and Walker, says that “pentobarbital is a wholly untested drug that is not used to administer anesthesia to healthy human subjects, so it basically amounts to Russian roulette.” Lundbeck, the company that produces pentobarbital, released a statement saying that the drug should not be used in state executions.
Andrew DeYoung is on Death Row for murdering his parents and sister in 1993. If his execution is videotaped as currently planned, the tape could be instrumental in appealing death penalty cases in states that use pentobarbital.