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Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon

Stay of execution issued for Missouri killer Smulls

Wednesday, 29 January 2014 00:26 Published in Local News

   It's unclear when or if Missouri death row inmate Herbert Smulls will be executed.  

   The U.S. Supreme Court has granted him a stay of execution.  Justice Samuel Alito signed the order and it was sent out Tuesday night, just hours before Smulls midnight execution date.  

   The 56 year old was convicted of killing a St. Louis County jeweler and badly injuring his wife during a 1991 robbery.  His juvenile accomplice, now 37, is serving a life sentence.   

   Smulls' lawyer says the stay is temporary while the high court reviews the case.  She had made last-minute pleas to spare Smulls' life, focusing on Smulls "due process" rights, since he still has appeals pending that challenge Missouri's execution method.  Attorney Cheryl Pilate is arguing that Missouri's refusal to disclose the name of the compounding pharmacy that makes the pentobarbitol used in executions makes it impossible for Smulls' advocates to know whether it could cause pain and suffering.

   Earlier on Tuesday, Pilate revealed the name of the company she believes is making the drug.  She told The Associated Press that her research indicates the drug is made by The Apothecary Shoppe, based in Tulsa, Okla. She says an Oklahoma City-based lab tested the drug.   

 

 

Problems with the air system at new county crime lab

Tuesday, 28 January 2014 03:27 Published in Local News

   There's an ill wind blowing at the new St. Louis County Police crime lab.  Literally.  

   St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch says the new ventilation system is delivering "hurricane-like" gales and persistent dripping water that could contaminate evidence in criminal cases.  Fitch tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that that hasn't happened yet, but the potential is there.  

   This is the second controversy for ventilation system.  It was installed by SM Mechanical, a company owned by former police board chairman Gregory Sansone.  The $3.7 million sub-contract led to an FBI investigation and Sansone's resignation from the board.  

   Public works officials and the contractor both say bugs like this are normal with new construction.  The repairs are covered under warrantee.

   ST. LOUIS (AP) - With lethal injection drugs in short supply and new questions surfacing about their effectiveness, lawmakers in some death-penalty states are considering bringing back relics of a gruesome past: firing squads, electrocutions and gas chambers.
   Most states abandoned those e methods more than a generation ago in a bid to make capital punishment more palatable to the public and to a judicial system worried about inflicting cruel and unusual punishments that violate the Constitution.
   But to some elected officials, the drug shortages and legal challenges are beginning to make lethal injection seem too vulnerable to complications.
   Missouri state Rep. Rick Brattin has proposed making firing squads an option. The state's attorney general has suggested rebuilding the gas chamber. A Virginia lawmaker wants to make electrocution an option if drugs aren't available.
 

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