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Georgia Delays Another Execution Following Concerns About Lethal Injection Drug

The death chamber at the state prison in Jackson, Georgia.
The death chamber at the state prison in Jackson, Georgia.
Credit Ric Feld / Associated Press
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Georgia is postponing a second execution, following concerns about its supply of the drug it uses for lethal injections.

Kelly Gissendaner’s execution was put on hold late Monday night because according to the Department of Corrections the drug, called pentobarbital, appeared cloudy. Now the state is also delaying Brian Keith Terrell’s execution, which had been scheduled for March 10.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the scheduled executions of Kelly Renee Gissendaner and Brian Keith Terrell, have been postponed while an analysis is conducted of the drugs planned for use in last night’s scheduled execution of inmate Gissendaner,” the Department of Corrections said in a statement.

The source of the execution drug is kept secret in Georgia.    

“I think the state is being cautious,” said defense attorney and WABE legal analyst Page Pate. “The state decided, ‘Look, let’s put this on hold, let’s see if we do have a problem, and then reschedule these executions once we can be confident the drugs are going to work the way they’re supposed to.’”

Neither Terrell’s nor Gissendaner’s execution has been rescheduled. Gissendaner’s had already been rescheduled once before. Terrell’s clemency hearing, which had been schedule for March 9, has been canceled by the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles.

Georgia has executed two other people this year.