Execution of Kansas City man may be delayed due to drug controversy

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The execution of a Kansas City man might be delayed after a federal judge barred the state of Missouri from importing the drug used for lethal injections.

The controversy stems over whether the drug is causing pain to those being executed.

In 1989, 15-year-old Ann Harrison waited for her school bus at 67th and Booth on Kansas City's east side when two men kidnapped, raped and killed her.

The men, Roderick Nunely and Michael Taylor, now sit on death row, awaiting execution.

Taylor, 46, is set to be executed on February 26, 2014. He will be the fourth person in Missouri to be executed with the drug pentobarbital. But on Wednesday, Feb. 12, a federal judge handed down an injunction to delay the delivery of that drug to Missouri.

Taylor's attorneys argue the drug would cause an unnecessarily long and inhumane execution, as a couple people executed with it complained about experiencing pain before dying.

Pentobarbital is usually used by vets to euthanize dogs and cats.

The lawsuit alleges an Oklahoma pharmacy out of Tulsa is contracted with the Missouri Department of Corrections to provide the execution drug.

Taylor's attorneys argue the pharmacy is breaking the law by delivering the drug across state lines since it is not being overseen by the Food and Drug Administration. The pharmacy now has until Friday, Feb. 14, to submit a response to the court. A hearing on the issue is set for Tuesday, Feb. 18.

Taylor's attorneys have also petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear arguments against Missouri's lethal injection protocol.

The state is set to respond to that lawsuit on March 5, another indication that Taylor's execution might be delayed until the courts can weigh in on the pentobarbital issue.

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