Nevada sets 1st execution in 12 years
LAS VEGAS — Nevada will carry out its first execution in 12 years using a never-before-tried combination of drugs that drew a court challenge over concerns that a convicted murderer could suffer during the lethal injection.
Scott Raymond Dozier is scheduled to die July 11, Department of Corrections spokeswoman Brooke Santina said Wednesday, a day after a judge in Las Vegas signed the death warrant.
It comes after the state Supreme Court decided last month not to stop the execution on procedural grounds despite challenges by lawyers and a rights group, who argued that the procedure would be less humane than putting down a pet. There also were concerns that some of the state’s drugs would have expired.
“We have what we need to complete the execution order,” Santina told The Associated Press. “The same three drugs. We have some that are not expired.”
Dozier’s death warrant was signed Tuesday by Clark County District Court Judge Jennifer Togliatti, who last November blocked the scheduled execution over concerns that one drug in the three-drug cocktail would immobilize the inmate and mask any signs of pain and suffering. The warrant didn’t address her previous concerns.
Batches of the disputed muscle paralytic called cisatracurium began expiring April 1, but Santina has said the state had supplies that were good until Nov. 30.
The sedative diazepam, the powerful painkiller fentanyl and the paralytic cisatracurium have never been used for lethal injections in any state. Diazepam is commonly known as Valium. Fentanyl is synthetic opioid that has been blamed for overdose deaths nationwide during an opioid epidemic.
Nevada and other states have struggled in recent years to find drugs after pharmaceutical companies and distributors banned their use for executions.
Dozier, 47, has been on death row since 2007 for convictions in separate murders in Phoenix and Las Vegas. He has said repeatedly that he wants to be put to death as soon as possible and doesn’t care what drugs are used.
Dozier, who also used the name Chad Wyatt, would become the first person put to death in Nevada since 2006. His death would mark the first lethal injection since a new execution chamber was completed in 2016 at Ely State Prison.
Aides to Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval and state Attorney General Adam Laxalt did not immediately respond to messages Wednesday.
Jonathan Van Boskerck, a chief deputy Clark County district attorney involved in nearly a year of court hearings over Dozier’s fate, pointed to the death sentence by a jury and the state high court ruling last month.
“The decision of this jury deserves respect,” he said.