Whitesburg KY

Death Row inmates challenge protocol


Kentucky’s lethal injection protocol was set to take effect May 7, but three condemned inmates have asked a judge to stop the state from using it to execute anyone.

Death row inmates Ralph Stevens Baze, Thomas Clyde Bowling and Brian Keith Moore filed a motion Friday through public defender David Barron in Franklin Circuit Court asking a judge to declare that the state violated a Kentucky Supreme Court order in the way it adopted the new method.

The challenge is set to be heard May 19.

The state’s high court barred Kentucky from conducting any executions in November, finding that offi cials improperly adopted the three-drug lethal injection method.

The new challenge raises similar concerns — claiming that the state failed to spell out how the chemicals would be injected, authorizing people not qualified to insert intravenous lines to handle the execution and not allowing death row inmates to address a public hearing about the threedrug protocol.

“Each of these failures renders the department’s regulations invalid and leaves us still without a validly adopted execution protocol,” Barron said.

Warrants were pending on three inmates when the old protocol was struck down.

A jury condemned Baze, 54, to death in 1992 for the shooting deaths of Powell County Sheriff Steven Bennett and deputy Arthur Briscoe when they tried to serve a warrant on him. Baze has run through his appeals.

Another inmate, Robert Carl Foley, 53, who was sentenced to death in 1993 for the murders of two brothers, Rodney and Lynn Vaughn, during an argument at his home two years earlier, has run through his appeals.

Foley received a second death sentence for the October 1989 murders of Kimberly Bowersock, Lillian Contino, Jerry McMillen, and Calvin Reynolds. Prosecutors say he shot the four victims because he thought one of them had reported him to his parole officer.

The third inmate, Gregory Lee Wilson, 53, was sentenced to death in October 1988 in Kenton County for kidnapping and murdering Deborah Pooley a year earlier. Wilson is currently asking the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reinstate a lawsuit challenging the lethal injection method.

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