Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has put to rest any question pertaining to the execution of inmate Michael Anthony Taylor. Nixon confirmed that Taylor will indeed be put to death on February 26, in accordance with his sentence in the 1989 kidnapping, rape, and murder of 15-year-old Ann Harrison.
Taylor filed a lawsuit in order to prevent an Oklahoma pharmacy from selling the necessary drug, pentobarbital, to the Missouri prison and was successful in blocking the sale of the drug. But Governor Nixon told the press that the drug situation is under control but refused to say whether there was another deal with a different pharmacy or how the state came to receive the necessary drug.
"We will be prepared to move forward with the necessary responsibility to effectuate the ultimate penalty next week" Nixon said at a press conference.
The question at hand is what drug will be used to execute Taylor. Pentobarbital is in short supply, and Ohio used a combination of midazolam and hydromorphone that appears to have caused suffering before death. In a deposition last month, a Missouri Department of Corrections official said that there was a backup supply of midazolam and hyromorphone to be used in executions. It remains to be seen what route Missouri will take to put Taylor to death.
Many states have been using a compounded version of pentobarbital made by pharmacies in the United States but refuse to name their sources or what drugs are actually used in the compound.
"Missouri may not take Taylor's life without due process of law, meaning he has the right to meaningful notice of – and an opportunity to challenge – Missouri's plan for executing him," Taylor's lawyers said in their stay of execution motion.
Taylor cited recent uses of hydromorphone and midazolam as evidence of cruel and unusual punishment that he believes would invalidate his civil rights. Taylor will be the state's fourth execution in as many months.