Gov. Jay Inslee’s moratorium on executions didn’t stop prosecutors from seeking the death penalty and defense attorneys from appealing death sentences.
But according to a records request filed by the Kitsap Sun on Feb. 18, the state Department of Corrections reported it has none of the drug used in executions and has no idea of how to get more.
Even if the courts gave their blessing to an execution, and Inslee hadn’t vowed to step in and put a hold on it, it isn’t clear how the state would execute the nine men currently on death row.
The state’s primary method of execution is lethal injection, though it offers hanging to condemned inmates.
“The Department of Corrections does not have a current supply of pentobarbital, thiopental sodium or any other drug used in executions,” the department reported March 5. “We have no responsive records describing how the DOC could obtain more sodium thiopental, or other drugs used in executions, in the event that executions resume and the current method is retained.”
The European Union has enacted bans on importing drugs used in capital punishment to the U.S. Manufacturers of the drugs also refused to sell them when it was clear they were to be used in executions.
Yesterday it was reported that much of Delaware’s stock of the drugs used in lethal injection has expired.
The longest serving member of death row is Jonathan Lee Gentry, who was convicted in 1991 of the 1988 murder of 12-year-old Cassie Holden in East Bremerton.