[JURIST] The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals [official website] Wednesday lifted [order] its stay of execution [JURIST report] for Derrick S. O'Brien [NCADP profile], citing insufficient factual or scientific evidence [concurring opinion text] proving that lethal injection causes suffering and leads to a painful death. Death penalty opponents have criticized the lethal injection [JURIST news archive] process, claiming that the painkiller sodium pentothal does not last long enough to counter the effects of the two other drugs used, namely pancuronium bromide for paralysis and potassium chloride which simulates a fatal heart attack. O'Brien's stay had initially been interpreted as a deferment to the upcoming US Supreme Court [official website] ruling on a Florida lethal injection case [JURIST report], but the appeals court judges said they had merely halted the execution to give themselves enough time to review O'Brien's case. O'Brien received the death penalty for his killing of two Houston teenagers. A new execution date will be set after a hearing in July.
Also Wednesday, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and later the US Supreme Court rejected the lethal injection appeal of Jermaine Herron [TDCJ profile], who was convicted nine years ago for shooting a woman and her 15 year old son in southern Texas. Harman was executed Wednesday night. AP has more. From Texas, the Huntsville Item has local coverage.