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Two convicted killers in Oklahoma have been granted stays, delaying their execution, from the Oklahoma Supreme Court. The two have challenged the state’s plans to acquire lethal drugs in secret.
Clayton Lockett was originally scheduled for execution on Tuesday at 6 p.m., and Charles Warner was set to follow a week later. According to The New York Times, their lawyers had filed several appeals to the state Supreme Court, which finally granted the stays on Monday.
“The irreparable harm that would result from their executions cannot be overstated,” their lawyers had stated.
The issue at the heart of their cases is that the state has tried to covertly acquire the lethal drugs to kill the convicts, as other drugs have become increasingly scarce. As UPI notes, a lower court had said that it was unconstitutional to protect the identity of a company providing the drugs.
It would also keep the convicts from knowing what drugs are being used to kill them, denying them a right to challenge the drugs as cruel and unusual punishment.
Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt has said that the appeals were really just a way for the convicts to delay execution. He has said that the Supreme Court “acted in an extraordinary and unprecedented manner, resulting in a constitutional crisis for our state.”
Lockett was sentenced to death after the kidnapping, rape and murder of a 19-year-old woman in 1999. Warner was convicted in the 1997 murder of an 11-month-old girl.