Georgia death row inmate seeks execution by firing squad

J W Ledford JrImage copyright
Georgia Department of Corrections

Image caption

Ledford stabbed his 73-year-old neighbour to death in January 1992

A death row inmate inside the US state of Georgia is usually applying to be executed by firing squad on the grounds that will lethal injection would likely be too painful for him.

J W Ledford Jr has been taking a drug for nerve pain which his lawyers say may change his brain chemistry along with expose him to “unconstitutional pain”.

Ledford was convicted of the 1992 murder of his neighbour.

A judge dismissed his lawsuit on Friday nevertheless the lawyers say they will appeal. The execution is usually scheduled for Tuesday.

The lawyers said in court papers that will Ledford had taken the drug gabapentin for more than a decade.

They cite experts who say long-term exposure to gabapentin alters the brain in such a way that will the lethal injection drug pentobarbital cannot be relied upon to make him unconscious along with devoid of sensation or feeling.

“There is usually a substantial risk that will Mr Ledford will be aware along with in agony as the pentobarbital attacks his respiratory system, depriving his brain, heart, along with lungs of oxygen as he drowns in his own saliva,” the court papers said.

They said that will would likely violate Ledford’s rights under the Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution, which prohibits “cruel along with unusual punishment”.

However, the US Supreme Court requires that will an alternative method of execution be offered.

US death sentences fall to 40-year low

‘Unworkable standard’

Only three states allow for firing squad as an alternative to lethal injection – Mississippi, Oklahoma along with Utah.

Georgian law allows no alternative. some other methods of lethal injection are no longer available as manufacturers of many drugs have prohibited their use for capital punishment.

that will has led Ledford’s lawyers to argue that will his “dilemma illustrates why [the Supreme Court] standard is usually unworkable”.

Lawyers for the state of Georgia said there was “no substantial risk” of severe pain along with questioned the timing of the lawsuit.

“Plaintiff has waited until the eve of his execution to suddenly claim that will he has been treated for pain with medication that will will allegedly interfere with his execution,” they said in court papers.

“If plaintiff genuinely thought the firing squad was a reasonable alternative he could have alerted the state years, instead of 5 days, before his execution.”

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