US state executes prisoner using animal euthanasia drug

Johnnie Baston, convicted of killing a store owner in 1994, was put to death yesterday with a single injection of the sedative drug pentobarbital which is normally used to euthanasia pets and other animals, the US media reported.

Baston, 37, died at 10.30 AM local time on Thursday at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, JoEllen Smith, the spokeswoman for Ohio's Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, was quoted as saying.

Baston became the ninth prisoner to be executed this year in the US.According to Baston's clemency report, prosecutors said that the convict had a juvenile record as a thief and he had shot Chong Mah in the back of his head, before decamping with team logo hats and "starter" type jackets from the store.

Baston, who was 20 at the time of the murder, admitted to robbery but denied killing Mah. He said he had no intention to kill anyone and an accomplice had committed the murder.
The defence argued in an appeal for clemency saying that the victim's family did not want Baston to be executed.

Ohio Governor John Kasich rejected clemency petition.Last year, the US state of Oklahoma executed convicted murderer John David Duty, using pentobarbital but in combination with other drugs which paralyse inmates and stop their hearts.

Oklahoma officials claimed that a nationwide shortage of a key ingredient of the lethal injection had forced them to tinker with the usual formula.

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