Okla. inmate: Drug shortage should halt execution

July 10, 2012 - 5:36 PM
Oklahoma Execution

In this photo provided by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, Michael E. Hooper is pictured in a photo dated June 29. 2011, in McAlester, Okla. Hooper, scheduled for execution Aug. 14, 2012, said he fears that he would be subject to cruel and unusual punishment if the sole dose remaining in Oklahoma of a sedative used in executions isn't enough to keep him from feeling pain as he is put to death. (AP Photo/Oklahoma Department of Corrections)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A death row inmate has asked a federal court to halt his execution next month because Oklahoma has only one dose left of a lethal injection drug, and it might not work.

Pentobarbital has become hard to get after its manufacturer stopped selling it for executions last year.

An attorney for Michael Hooper said in a motion filed Tuesday that with one remaining dose, Oklahoma has no backup plan if the drug fails to render Hooper unconscious.

The motion mentions cases where anesthesia drugs "failed to take hold" but doesn't give specifics.

Concerns were raised in April after an Arizona inmate shook for several seconds upon receiving a lethal dose of pentobarbital. In that case, the drug was used by itself. In Oklahoma, it is used with two other drugs.