Judge Orders Temporary Halt to Mississippi Executions

26 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Judge delays execution of man who murdered Metairie-raised woman in Mississippi until death row inmate’s federal lawsuit is resolved.

A man on death row in Mississippi for the 1976 murder of a Metairie-raised woman should not be executed until it is determined whether the state’s lethal-injection drug combination is constitutional, a federal judge in Mississippi decided Tuesday. District Judge Henry Wingate, of Jackson, came almost a month after the Attorney General’s Office in Mississippi asked the state Supreme Court to set an execution date no later than Thursday for death row inmate Richard Gerald Jordan, 69. Jordan was convicted of fatally shooting 33-year-old Edwina Marter shortly after kidnapping her for $50,000 ransom in Gulfport, Mississippi, on Jan. 12, 1976.

But evidence demonstrated that she was kneeling in front of Jordan when he shot her in the back of the head in northern Harrison County, Mississippi, prosecutors said. The suit questions whether Mississippi could safely mix an effective form of the anesthetic pentobarbital, the first of three drugs used in the state’s lethal injections.

On July 28, Mississippi’s Department of Corrections notified Wingate that it was amending its lethal-injection protocol to use the anesthetic midazolam as the first drug, which the U.S. But employing midazolam for lethal injections in Mississippi is as problematic as using pentobarbital, according to Jordan’s legal team, led by the director of New Orleans’ MacArthur Justice Center, Jim Craig. He said midazolam is not even a barbiturate. “It breaks all of our hearts, all these years, that (Jordan) hasn’t left the picture,” Marter’s sister, Norma de Gruy Wells, 73, of Metairie, said recently. “He’s in the picture.

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