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Oklahoma pharmacy agrees not to supply drug for Missouri execution

By Carey Gillam

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) - An Oklahoma compounding pharmacy has agreed not to provide a drug needed to execute a Missouri inmate who has argued that it could cause severe and inhumane pain, but state officials said they would still proceed with the execution.

U.S. District Judge Terence Kern on Tuesday dismissed inmate Michael Taylor's lawsuit against The Apothecary Shoppe in Tulsa, Oklahoma, after the settlement. The pharmacy agreed to not prepare or provide pentobarbital or any other drug for use in the execution.

Missouri officials have said publicly they still intend to execute Taylor on February 26 on his conviction for the 1989 rape and murder of a Kansas City school girl.

The Missouri Corrections Department did not respond to a request for comment.

Taylor was spared by a late reprieve in 2006 because of concerns about the state's execution protocols and whether or not they were causing inmates undue pain as they were killed.

Lawyers representing Taylor have filed an application with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, arguing for a life sentence instead of a death sentence. They say that when Taylor pleaded guilty in 1991 he did not waive his constitutional right to be sentenced by a jury rather than a judge.

Taylor's lawyers state in their court filings that in 2000, the Supreme Court recognized a Sixth Amendment right to have a jury find the facts needed to condemn someone, and in 2003, Missouri made that right retroactive and started vacating every death sentence lacking jury findings.

Taylor's lawyers also have asked a federal judge in western Missouri to stay his execution, arguing that Missouri's lethal injection protocol violates a U.S. Constitution ban against cruel and unusual punishment.

Death penalty critics say officials in Missouri are among the most zealous in carrying out executions, and recently have criticized the state for putting people to death before final appeals are exhausted.

(Reporting by Carey Gillam; Editing by Richard Chang)

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