Monday, 12 February 2007

Senate Panel Endorses Update To Death Penalty Laws

Senate Panel Endorses Update To Death Penalty Laws

Elijah Page attends a hearing at the Lawrence County Courthouse in Deadwood, S.D., in this January 2001 file photo. Page, who pleaded guilty for his role in the 2000 torture and killing of 19-year-old Chester Poage, wants to be put to death by lethal injection.

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) -- Lawmakers in committee endorsed a bill today aimed at clearing the way for South Dakota to hold its first execution in nearly six decades.

Governor Rounds suggested the measure to correct a problem that caused him to call off the scheduled execution of convicted murderer Elijah Page in August.

Rounds postponed Page's execution because state law requires the use of two specific drugs for lethal injection, but prison officials had intended to add a third drug to the mix.

The bill would remove the legal reference to specific kinds of drugs and give state prison officials discretion to determine the substances to be used in an execution.

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