WASHINGTON (AP) — A judge in Washington halted the federal government’s planned Friday execution of a man who kidnapped, raped and killed a 10-year-old Kansas girl, saying the law requires the government to get a prescription for the drug it plans to use.
In an opinion early Thursday, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan said a federal law that regulates drugs requires the government to get a prescription for the lethal injection drug pentobarbital, which it plans to use to execute Keith Dwayne Nelson. The government is appealing.
Nelson’s execution was scheduled to be the fifth carried out this year by the federal government at the death chamber of the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. The executions followed the Trump administration’s announcement last year that it would resume executing death row inmates for the first time since 2003.