Arizona inmate arguing against execution warrant

AP News
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Posted: Mar 17, 2011 6:59 PM

A death-row inmate convicted of raping and murdering a 13-year-old girl asked the state Supreme Court not to schedule his execution due to questions about a drug used during lethal injections.

Prosecutors asked the Supreme Court last month to issue an execution warrant for Donald Edward Beaty, 56, who was convicted in the 1984 case.

Beaty's defense attorneys filed their opposition late Wednesday, arguing the sedative sodium thiopental was illegally obtained and unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

The attorneys also noted that in Georgia, the Drug Enforcement Administration seized the state's entire supply of sodium thiopental over questions about how it was imported into the U.S.

Georgia attorneys claimed the drug came from a fly-by-night British supplier operating in a gritty London neighborhood.

A U.S. shortage of the drug _ the first to be administered during executions _ has caused at least five states to seek it in England.

In their filing, Beaty's attorneys expressed concern about the drug's effectiveness.

"If Beaty is not properly anaesthetized by the sodium thiopental before being given the second and third drugs, he will suffocate and experience excruciating pain," according to the filing.

Prosecutor Kent Cattani has said he is confident the state corrections department obtained the drug from Great Britain legally and that it's safe.