Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Clarence Carter Executed in the United States Using Animal Drug

US executes inmate with animal drug

Wed Apr 13, 2011 5:29AM

Clarence Carter had spent 23 years on death row.

Authorities in the US state of Ohio have executed an inmate, who had spent more than 23 years on death row, with a drug normally used for killing animals.

Clarence Carter was put to death on Tuesday at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, and was the second person to have been killed using the sedative pentobarbital in Ohio, the Associated Press reports.

A shortage of sodium thiopental -- an anesthetic usually used to make death row inmates unconscious just before their execution -- has forced Ohio to use pentobarbital.

Experts argue that the use of the new sedative, which is typically used to put down old and sick animals, is inhumane since inmates could be conscious but paralyzed when the other drugs are administered.

Carter was convicted of killing another inmate, Johnny Allen Jr., 33, who died two weeks after a December 1988 beating in the Hamilton County jail.

At the time, Carter was in jail, awaiting sentence for another aggravated murder conviction.

His support committee had argued against the execution, saying that Allen's killing was not premeditated.

They stressed that former US Army soldier Allen died during the fight -- likely to have been instigated by himself -- when it got out of control, not because Carter intended to kill him.

The lawyers also said that a key witness, whose testimony played a major role in Carter's conviction, had changed his story years after the murder trial.

The witness had earlier testified that he had seen Carter "sucker punch" Allen and then beat him for more than 20 minutes after the latter changed a TV channel.

But later the witness admitted to investigators that he didn't really see who started the fight.

Lawyers say the distinction is important, as it means that Carter did not kill Allen with "prior calculation and design," making him ineligible for the death penalty.

They also said that Carter suffered from a borderline personality disorder, and that his upbringing was marked by violent role models, including a stepfather who beat him when he stuttered and a cousin who paid him 50 cents to fight other children.

However, despite the belief by Carter's lawyers that there was a lack of proper evidence, Carter was executed on Tuesday.

In his final statement, Carter told his family he was enjoying his last moments.

He also asked Allen's family for forgiveness.

"I'd like to say I'm sorry for what I did, especially to his mother. I ask God for forgiveness and them for forgiveness," he said.

There are nearly 3,260 death row inmates in the United States, as of January 2010, according to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Legal Defense and Educational Fund, a leading US civil rights organization.

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