Georgia halts executions to analyze lethal drug cocktail

Woman's execution delayed for 'cloudy' drugs
Woman's execution delayed for 'cloudy' drugs


    Woman's execution delayed for 'cloudy' drugs


Woman's execution delayed for 'cloudy' drugs 01:10

Story highlights

  • Brian Keith Terrell execution halted while Georgia analyzes drugs used for executions
  • Kelly Gissendaner's execution postponed because drugs "appeared cloudy," Georgia says

(CNN)After postponing its first execution of a woman in 70 years because of "cloudy" lethal injection drugs, Georgia has indefinitely postponed at least one other execution until it can analyze the cocktail it uses for the procedures, the state said Tuesday.

Kelly Renee Gissendaner was scheduled to die at 7 p.m. ET Monday, but for the second time in less than a week, it was called off. The state postponed the first planned execution because of "weather and associated scheduling issues," department spokeswoman Gwendolyn Hogan said.
"Prior to the execution, the drugs were sent to an independent lab for testing of potency. The drugs fell within the acceptable testing limits," the Georgia Department of Corrections said in a statement.
    "Within the hours leading up to the scheduled execution, the Execution Team performed the necessary checks. At that time, the drugs appeared cloudy. The Department of Corrections immediately consulted with a pharmacist, and in an abundance of caution, Inmate Gissendaner's execution has been postponed."
    Repeating the "abundance of caution" wording, the department issued a news release Tuesday, saying, "The scheduled executions of Kelly Renee Gissendaner and Brian Keith Terrell have been postponed while an analysis is conducted of the drugs planned for use in last night's scheduled execution of inmate Gissendaner."
    Gissendaner, 47, is condemned to die for a 1997 murder plot in which she conspired with boyfriend Gregory Owen to murder her husband.
    Terrell was convicted in the shooting and beating death of a 70-year-old friend of his mother's after the man called police to say Terrell had stolen checks from him, according to the Georgia attorney general's office.
    Gissendaner has already requested an extravagant last meal: two Burger King Whoppers with cheese (with everything), two large orders of fries, popcorn, cornbread, a side of buttermilk and a salad with tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, carrots, cheese, boiled eggs and Newman's Own buttermilk dressing, the Corrections Department said. She also requested a glass of lemonade and cherry-vanilla ice cream for dessert.
    Terrell was scheduled to die between March 10 and 17.
    Last year, Oklahoma issued a months-long moratorium on executions after murderer and rapist Clayton Lockett convulsed, writhed and lay alive on a gurney for 43 minutes before dying. It was the state's first time using a new, three-drug cocktail for an execution.
    The constitutionality of lethal injection drugs has made headlines since 2013, when European manufacturers -- including Denmark-based Lundbeck, which manufactures pentobarbital -- banned U.S. prisons from using their drugs in executions. Thirty-two states were left to find new drug protocols.