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Arkansas inmate set to die Thursday night after high court overturns injunction

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Arkansas inmate set to die Thursday night after high court overturns injunction,

April 20 (UPI) — Arkansas prepared for the execution of a death-row inmate Thursday night after a restraining order blocking the use of a lethal injection drug was overturned by the state Supreme Court.

Inmate Ledell Lee faces the state’s first execution since 2005 after the high court cleared the way for Arkansas’ use of the paralytic vecuronium bromide, one of three drugs in the lethal injection cocktail.

On Wednesday, an Arkansas circuit court barred use of the drug in any execution.

Lee and prisoner Stacey E. Johnson both were originally scheduled for execution Thursday. Johnson’s execution was stayed by the Arkansas Supreme Court on Wednesday.

In three orders Thursday night, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to stop the execution. Lee’s execution can proceed if a temporary stay issued by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals expires Thursday night.

Lee was sentenced to die in 1995 for the killing two years earlier of Debra Reese.

Arkansas planned to execute eight death-row inmates this month, but three have so far been stayed by legal challenges.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson defended the unprecedented schedule because the state’s supply of one of the lethal drugs expires at the end of April.

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