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When Missouri Has Injected Midazolam

via Wikimedia Commons
Credit via Wikimedia Commons

Missouri prison officials said under oath that they would not use midazolam in executions. But a St. Louis Public Radio investigationrevealed last week that the state has used it in nine executions since 2013.

Missouri claims it's not an execution drug -- that it's a large dose of a sedative but one that the inmate cannot turn down. The amount the state uses has been increasing, from 2 milligrams to 6 milligrams, and the times the drug is injected varies: John Middleton, executed in July 2014, received a 3 milligram dose five minutes before observers would normally be allowed into the viewing area, and another 3 milligram dose three minutes before his death warrant became valid.

Medical experts and federal judges have criticized Missouri's use of midazolam, calling it "alarming." The Department of Corrections said it did not use the drug in this week's execution of Earl Ringo.

The dots on the graph below show when an inmate is given midazolam and how much he receives. The horizontal black lines represent the execution process for each inmate, and the line ends at the time the inmate was declared dead. The tan box represents the time that observers — journalists, representatives for the victim, and others — are typically allowed to view the inmate, according to an internal document. The vertical white line marks the time the death warrant became valid — when the state was legally allowed to execute the inmate. Pentobarbital, the lethal drug in Missouri's supposed single-drug protocol, is injected after the warrant becomes valid.Loading...

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Chris McDaniel
Chris McDaniel started at St. Louis Public Radio as a political reporter, predominantly covering the race between Senator Claire McCaskill and Congressman Todd Akin. Before coming to St. Louis, Chris worked at NPR stations in Louisville, Kentucky and Columbia, Missouri, and his work has been broadcast on NPR’s national newscasts. He is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri, where he studied journalism and political science. He is also the winner of the 2011 PAX East Super Smash Bros. Tournament. Chris enjoys dogs, anything by Cormac McCarthy, and listeners like you.
Brent Jones is a journalist who works with data and design. He joined the St. Louis Beacon after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 2007. In the past five years, he has shot photos of the Pevely Dairy fire and flooding in Cairo, Ill.; compiled data on St. Louis' hottest days and whitest Christmases; edited a 30-minute video on music in Iraq; designed a 150+ page ebook; and produced audio from an improv show and more than 100 Beacon Roundtables. Jones lives in St. Louis, where he has completed a half- and full marathon and sings in a 16-member a capella madrigal ensemble.
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