By Corrie MacLaggan
AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Texas on Wednesday carried out its first execution since the state switched this month to a one-drug protocol for lethal injections because a supply of another drug is no longer available.
Yokamon Hearn, 33, who had a long criminal history, was executed for the 1998 abduction and fatal shooting of 23-year-old stockbroker Frank Meziere in Dallas.
"The execution was carried out without incident," said Jason Clark, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Texas, which executes more people than any other U.S. state, had been using a three-drug cocktail to carry out executions but will now use only pentobarbital, a sedative sometimes used to euthanize animals. The state made the switch because its available supply of another drug in the cocktail, pancuronium bromide, expired and was no longer usable.
"The one-drug protocol has been adopted by several states, and has been upheld as constitutional by the courts," Clark said in an email.
On Tuesday, Georgia postponed an execution that also had been scheduled for Wednesday as it prepared to use pentobarbital alone instead of three drugs in its lethal injections.
On March 25, 1998, Hearn and three others kidnapped Meziere at a self-service car wash. Hearn shot him at close range and then drove off in Meziere's Mustang, according to the Texas Attorney General's Office.
Meziere's body was found the next morning in a field with gunshot wounds to the head and face.
Witnesses testified at Hearn's trial that he bragged about the killing, waving a newspaper story about the crime, according to Dallas Morning News reports from 1998.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted Hearn a reprieve on the day he was scheduled to be executed in 2004 after he indicated he wanted to raise a claim that he had mental disabilities.
Hearn was the sixth inmate put to death in Texas this year and the 24th in the United States, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
Clark said Hearn's final statement was: "Yes, I would like to tell my family that I love y'all and I wish y'all well. I'm ready."
(Reporting By Corrie MacLaggan; Editing by Peter Cooney)
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