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Nebraska Governor Fights To Execute First Inmate Since 1997, Overcomes Obstacles Frustrating Other States

Nebraska Department of Correctional Services/Handout via REUTERS

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Evie Fordham Politics and Health Care Reporter

Nebraska will execute a death row inmate Tuesday for the first time since 1997 after a push from Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts, who worked to reinstate Nebraska’s death penalty after it was banned by state lawmakers in 2015.

The state of Nebraska will execute 60-year-old Carey Dean Moore, who was sentenced to death in 1979 for shooting two cab drivers to death, with a combination of drugs not yet used in the U.S. that includes a synthetic opioid, reported WUSA9. German drugmaker Fresenius Kabi unsuccessfully sued to postpone the execution, accusing the state of “improperly using its drugs.”

The state argued that some of its lethal injection drugs would expire Aug. 31 and that the State Department of Corrections has not been able to buy more, reported The Associated Press.

In other states like Louisiana and Nevada, corrections department officials trying to carry out legal death penalty sentences have not been able to overcome similar obstacles. For example, a lawsuit from New Jersey drugmaker Alvogen is keeping Nevada from executing twice-convicted murderer Scott Raymond Dozier. The death row inmate said he wants to die, and the state worries its lethal injection drugs will expire before the court lifts the stay of execution.

Ricketts put the state’s use of the death penalty to a vote in the November 2016 general election. The efforts relied on contributions, including $300,000 of his own money for a petition drive to get the issue on the ballot, reported WUSA9. Pro- and anti-death penalty groups spent over $3 million on the issue, which resolved when 61 percent of voters supported reinstating executions.

Rickett’s push for the death penalty also meant changing Nebraska’s lethal injection policies so the state had more flexibility when purchasing drugs and withholding the identifications of the state’s drug suppliers. (RELATED: Louisiana AG And Governor Locked In Battle Over Temporary Death Penalty Ban)

Nebraska’s most recent execution was carried out via electric chair in 1997, reported WUSA9. Moore will die by a four-drug cocktail after living past seven failed execution dates. He is no longer opposing his death sentence.

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