Inmate’s execution uncertain despite set date

A death-row inmate who has seen several execution dates come and go since he was convicted in 1993 of killing his stepson has a new date scheduled for early March — but the state may have trouble killing him.

That’s because lawyers and a state official indicate the state has disposed of its lethal-injection drug because it expired. The drug’s only manufacturer has said it will not sell current doses to officials who plan to use them for lethal injections.

Death-penalty opponents say expired drugs could lose their effectiveness, resulting in an agonizingly painful death, or simply agonizing pain without death, which would violate a prisoner’s protection against cruel and unusual punishment. Others, though, scoff at the thought and say many drugs lose little or no potency and could be used for executions.

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