"State tells judge of change in lethal injection formula," is Bill Lodge's report in the Baton Rouge Advocate.
State corrections officials announced through their attorneys in Baton Rouge federal court Tuesday that they have replaced a three-chemical lethal injection formula with a single dose of pentobarbital.
U.S. District Judge James J. Brady had called a hearing on the three-chemical formula because of concerns over the possibility of agonizing deaths that were raised by attorneys for two death row inmates. One of those inmates is scheduled for execution Feb. 13.
In a related development, a spokesman for Gov. Bobby Jindal said his boss will not grant a request by the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops to postpone that execution until after Ash Wednesday. The bishops also suggested Monday that convicted murderers could be sentenced to non-lethal punishment, such as imprisonment for life.
Scheduled for execution next week is Christopher Sepulvado, 69, of DeSoto Parish. Sepulvado received his death sentence after a jury trial for the 1992 beating and scalding murder of his 6-year-old stepson, Wesley Allen Mercer.
In Baton Rouge, Brady said he wants both sides of the lethal-injection dispute to report to him Friday after Morvant concludes his hearing in state District Court. If necessary, Brady added, he will hold another hearing on Sepulvado’s case Monday in federal District Court.
"Jindal rebuffs call from bishops to stop execution," is the AP report, via NECN.
Gov. Bobby Jindal won't halt next week's execution of a DeSoto Parish man, the governor's office said Tuesday, rejecting a request from Louisiana's Catholic bishops to stop the lethal injection.
Christopher Sepulvado is scheduled to die on Feb. 13 for the beating and scalding death of his stepson, 6-year-old Wesley Mercer, two decades ago.
"The trial was handled appropriately, and the punishment decided on by a jury of Mr. Sepulvado's peers is proportional to the crime he committed. The governor sees no reason to intervene in this case," Jindal spokesman Sean Lansing said in a statement.
The Catholic governor was asked by the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops to stop the execution, which will be held on the Christian holy day of Ash Wednesday.
The group, which represents the seven Catholic dioceses of Louisiana, said carrying out the death sentence at the start of the somber season of Lent "would be inconsistent with the Lenten call for reconciliation and redemption and an unnecessary tragic irony."
Earlier coverage of Louisiana lethal injection issues begins at the link.