Arkansas official: State has drugs to conduct 8 executions

(Image: MGN Online/Michael Coghlan CC BY-SA 2.0)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas has a new supply of a lethal injection drug that expired earlier this year, a prison spokesman said Monday, clearing the way for the state to move forward with eight executions scheduled next month.

Arkansas Department of Correction spokesman Solomon Graves said the state has 100 vials of potassium chloride, one of three drugs used in the state’s lethal injection protocol. The state’s previous supply of the drug had expired in January.

“Coupled with the two remaining drugs, there are enough to carry out the scheduled executions,” he said.

Solomon said the latest supply of the drug was received March 8 and expires at the end of August 2018. Solomon did not say where the state received the new supply, citing an Arkansas law that keeps the source of its lethal injection drugs secret.

The state hasn’t executed an inmate since 2005, but Gov. Asa Hutchinson last month scheduled four sets of double executions to occur before another drug, midazolam, expires at the end of April.

The state’s supply of vecuronium bromide expires on March 1, 2018.

Hutchinson scheduled the executions days after the U.S. Supreme Court said it wouldn’t review a state court ruling upholding the state’s lethal injection law. Justices earlier this month rejected an effort by the inmates to block the executions, saying there was no stay in place preventing the men from being put to death.

Attorneys for the inmates have asked a Pulaski County circuit judge to find the state’s lethal injection law — which keeps the names of its drug suppliers secret — and the three-drug protocol unconstitutional.