Texas executes Wesley Ruiz – again question of expired drug
On Wednesday night, 43-year-old Wesley Ruiz was executed with a lethal injection, an overdose of pentobarbital, in Huntsville, Texas.
He was sentenced to death for shooting and killing a police officer in connection with a car chase in Dallas in 2007. In his final words, Ruiz asked his victim’s family for forgiveness while demonstrating police officers revved the engines of their motorcycles outside the prison where the death sentence was carried out.
It was the second execution in Texas this year, and once again the issue of execution chemicals is controversial. For years, U.S. states have struggled to procure the appropriate drugs because pharmaceutical companies refuse to provide the means to kill.
In Texas, the Department of Corrections obtains the pentobarbital from so-called compounding pharmacies that manufacture it themselves. The actual and original expiration date was extended several times, so Robert Fratta was believed to have been killed on Jan. 10 with expired execution drugs.
It has since been revealed that Texas did receive a batch of fresh pentobarbital used on Fratta in early January – but there has been no transparency about this in agency announcements. The intent is to basically remain able to use all of the drugs in the inventory, including the old ones, according to the Department of Corrections spokeswoman.
Texas has denied allegations that its process for retesting and extending expiration dates is notoriously excruciating, saying executions carried out with such drugs usually proceeded without signs of pain.