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Oklahoma Executions Delayed, Can’t Find Lethal Injection Drugs

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Two executions in Oklahoma have been pushed back a month as the state scrambles to find a source of lethal-injection drugs. The two inmates had filed a lawsuit seeking more information about the drugs that would be used to kill them, but the state’s Court of Criminal Appeals decided the request was moot because the state didn’t have the drugs on hand anyway, reports the AP.

Death Row inmates Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner argued that they feared the execution drugs might be contaminated.

In briefs filed earlier this week, the state attorney general’s office said it had been unable to secure a supply of the sedative pentobarbital and the muscle relaxant vecuronium bromide despite “Herculean” efforts, NBC reports. Lockett, who murdered a 19-year-old woman in 1999 and Warner, who defiled and murdered his girlfriend’s 11-month-old daughter in 1997, are now scheduled to be executed in late April.

The state’s attorney general described the delay as the result of “outside forces employing threats, intimidation, and coercion to keep the state of Oklahoma from imposing the punishment handed down for these heinous crimes.” Other states facing execution drug shortages are looking into bringing back firing squads or gas chambers.

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