U.S. Supreme Court stays Missouri lethal injection execution - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

U.S. Supreme Court stays Missouri lethal injection execution

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Just hours before a convicted killer was to be executed, the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in.

Two and a half hours before 56-year-old Missouri death row inmate, Herbert Smulls, was to be executed, the U.S. supreme court granted a temporary stay, keeping him alive a little bit longer.

Smulls' lawyer argued for the stay, saying the state would not disclose the source of pentobarbital, the lethal injection drug being used. She contends the state's secrecy makes it impossible to know whether the drug could cause pain and suffering during the execution process, something that "terrifies" her client.

Smulls was convicted of killing a St. Louis county jeweler and badly wounding his wife in a 1991 robbery.

The stay is only temporary as the Supreme Court reviews the case. Oklahoma who has just been in the headlines for it's use of lethal injection drugs, stands behind their protocol.

But any ruling in this case could set precedence in the country on how inmates are executed and could change things in a lot of states.

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