Georgia rushes executions before lethal drugs expire

The state is reportedly hurrying to see capital sentences through before March

Published February 22, 2013 3:15PM (EST)

The state of Georgia has been swift in trying to overturn a stay of execution ruling in the case of intellectually disabled death row inmate Warren Hill. As Salon noted, Hill was granted a stay of execution earlier this week just 30 minutes before he was scheduled to receive the lethal injection.

According to the Guardian Friday, the state's speedy attempt to see the ruling overturned is no accident -- it is part of "a legal scramble to carry out capital sentences before its supply of lethal injection drugs reaches its expiry date of 1 March." Via the Guardian:

Georgia confirmed to the Guardian that its entire supply of pentobarbital expires on 1 March. The expiration date leaves the state in a quandary: it still has 93 men and one woman on death row, including Hill, but with no obvious means by which to execute them.

Anti-death penalty campaigners are scathing about the unseemly haste with which Georgia appears to rushing to beat the deadline. "This highlights the nastiness of the process that the AG should be racing to kill prisoners ahead of an expiration date," said Sara Totonchi, director of the Southern Center for Human Rights.

One man, 38-year-old Andrew Allen Cook, has already been put to death in the reported hurry. Cook, who was on death row since 1995 for the murder of two college students, was executed Thursday.

The Guardian suggested that Georgia's difficulties in procuring lethal injection drugs stems from "the gradual stranglehold that is being put on the US death penalty by authorities and companies around the world refusing to act as accomplices in the death sentence."

The fate of Warren Hill, 53,  deemed unfit by medical specialists to face the death penalty, remains unclear as Georgia's attorney general rushes to see the inmate killed before the lethal drugs expire.

By Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Death Penalty Death Row Georgia Lethal Injection Warren Hill