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Fate of Missouri Death Row Inmate Uncertain

Posted: Jan 29, 2014 8:22 AM by The Associated Press

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BONNE TERRE (AP) - The U.S. Supreme Court is deciding the fate of Missouri death row inmate Herbert Smulls.

Smulls was originally scheduled to die at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday at the prison in Bonne Terre, but late Tuesday night, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay while it examined the case.

Smulls' attorneys argue that the secrecy surrounding Missouri's execution drug, a form of pentobarbital purchased from an unnamed compounding pharmacy, makes it impossible to know if the drug could cause pain and suffering. The state says the secrecy is a necessary part of the process.

Prison officials have told those who would witness the execution to be at the prison by noon Wednesday and await the High Court's decision. If no decision is made Wednesday, the execution would have to be rescheduled.

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