Atlanta – The Georgia Department of Corrections on Tuesday said it was postponing the execution of a convicted murderer by a few days as it makes changes to its lethal-injection protocol.
The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles on Monday denied clemency for Warren Hill, putting him on track to be executed by lethal injection on Wednesday. The Department of Corrections on Tuesday pushed back his execution to next Monday, saying in a statement that it is in the process of switching to a single drug, pentobarbital, from a combination of three drugs.
“The Department has been using pentobarbital in its execution process, and based upon the experience of other states and competent medical testimony, the drug has proven to be effective,” the Georgia Department of Corrections said in a statement.
A shortage in the supply of such drugs has impeded executions. Georgia said the drug supply was a consideration but that “responsible and professional” work was the main concern.
Mr. Hill’s lawyer has asked the Supreme Court to stay his execution because of its 2002 ruling that banned the execution of the mentally retarded. The lawyer asserts that this standard should apply to Mr. Hill, who has an IQ of about 70.
In 1991, a jury convicted Mr. Hill of murder and sentenced him to death for killing Joseph Handspike, another inmate in the prison where Mr. Hill was serving a life sentence for the 1986 killing of his girlfriend.