Texas Executes Killer With New Drug Supply

Tommy Lynn Sells loses bid in Supreme Court
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 3, 2014 7:29 PM CDT
Texas Executes Killer With New Drug Supply
This handout image provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows convicted killer Tommy Lynn Sells.   (Uncredited)

A self-described serial killer was put to death in Texas today after the Supreme Court rejected his demand that the state release information about where it gets its lethal injection drug. Tommy Lynn Sells, 49, is the first inmate to be injected with a dose of newly replenished pentobarbital that Texas prison officials obtained to replace an expired supply. Sells declined to give a statement. As the drug began flowing into his arms inside the death chamber in Huntsville, Sells took a few breaths, his eyes closed, and he began to snore. After less than a minute, he stopped moving. He was pronounced dead at 6:27pm local time, 13 minutes after being given the pentobarbital.

Sells' lawyers had made a plea to the Supreme Court earlier in the day after a federal appeals court yesterday allowed the execution to remain on schedule. They argued that they needed to know the name of the pharmacy now providing the state with pentobarbital in order to verify the drug's quality and protect Sells from unconstitutional pain and suffering. But the Supreme Court sided with Texas prison officials, who argued that information about the drug supplier must be kept secret to protect the pharmacy from threats of violence. Sells was executed for the murder of a 13-year-old girl in 1999, but he claims to have committed as many as 70 killings across the US. (More execution stories.)

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