Tommy Lynn Sells will be executed today after an appellate court overruled a lower court's order to reveal the concoction of drugs used in his execution. The ruling from the appellate court is a huge step for the state of Texas, which wants to keep the drug information private.
Texas officials ruled that the secrecy of the drugs protects pharmacies from threats, and the current stock of pentobarbital is within the acceptable range of potency. Earlier on, attorneys for Sells and another inmate, Ramiro Hernandez-Llanas, demanded that the State reveal exactly what drugs would be used and where they came from in order to protect their clients from unnecessary pain.
However, the appeals court in New Orleans ruled that the arguments "are nothing more than a calculated attempt to postpone their executions," the Associated Press reported. The court added that if a different drug was used, "the case might be different."
Sells' case will now go before the United States Supreme Court.
Judge Vanessa Gilmore, the judge who ordered that drugs be revealed, was applauded by Sells' attorney.
The ruling "honors the importance of transparency in the execution process," Maurie Levin, attorney for the inmates, told the AP. "And the order makes it clear this last-minute litigation and stays of execution would not be necessary if (the prison agency) had not ignored the rule of law and tried to shield this information from the public and the light of day."
A spokesman for the Texas prison system said he could offer no comment because the case was still in the court system.
Sells will still be executed today for the 1999 murder of 13-year-old Kayleen Harris in Del Rio, Texas. He reportedly slit her throat and stabbed her. Harris' 10-year-old friend, Krystal Surles, helped authorities capture Sells, and he was sentenced to death in 2000. He was also convicted of murdering Mary Bea Perez after kidnapping her in 1999.
"You know something? If I do tell you I'm sorry and show remorse, there's going to be people out there that don't buy it and they're going to just throw rocks at me," Sells said in an interview with KENS5. "And they don't want to hear. I think it's between me and my maker now. It's not between me and society."