Opponents Question New Drug to be Used in Happ Execution
Published October 15th, 2013
GAINESVILLE -- As convicted killer William F. Happ awaits his scheduled execution Tuesday for murdering a woman in Crystal River, there are questions surrounding one of the drugs to be used in his lethal injection.
Midazolam hydrochloride, more commonly known as Versed, will be administered to Happ as part of the three-drug cocktail used in most lethal injection executions. According to pharmacology experts, the drug is widely used as a sedative before most surgeries.
Versed replaces the previous drug, pentobarbital sodium, of which there is currently a shortage.
As a result, Versed, not pentobarbitol, will be used to put Happ to sleep before administering the more painful drugs that induce death -- a move that is not standing well with some opponents.
"I'm just afraid that Florida is using what's most available, rather than what's the best practice," said Richard Dieter, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center based in Washington, D.C.
"Let's say the first drug is causing some discomfort or pain -- you won't know. The inmate can't speak," said Dieter.
Meanwhile, the family of Happ's victim, Angela Crowley, believes his execution should proceed despite the questions surrounding the new drug.
While Happ has not appealed his execution over the new drug concerns, there are at least seven other death row inmates in Florida who already have.
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