TEXAS (USA): ARTURO DIAZ EXECUTED
September 26, 2013: Arturo Diaz, 37, hispanic, was executed in Texas.
Diaz was executed using the drug pentobarbital. In August, Texas officials said the state's supply of the drug would run out this month. But asked this week about how much pentobarbital the state has on hand, a spokesman would only say that the Texas prison system would be using the drug for the foreseeable future. "We have not changed our current execution protocol and have no immediate plans to do so," said Jason Clark, spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Clark did not explain what had changed since August. Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials have used pentobarbital as the single execution drug for more than a year, but Diaz became the 1st in the state given the sedative procured from a vendor or manufacturer the prison agency has declined to identify.
Diaz's reaction to the drug was similar to other Texas inmates who have been executed with pentobarbital. He took several deep breaths, began snoring and ceased movement in less than a minute. The expiration date of the department's existing inventory passed this month, possibly diluting its potency.
Like other death penalty states, Texas officials needed to go to nontraditional sources because the usual suppliers bowed to pressure from capital punishment opponents and refused to make their product available.
The execution was carried out after the U.S. Supreme Court refused a last-ditch appeal to block his lethal injection.
Diaz was convicted of killing Michael Ryan Nichols in April 1999 after the two spent a night partying with an exotic dancer and friends. During the course of the evening, Nichols borrowed $100 from the dancer, who returned the following night to collect her money. When Nichols gave her only $50, Diaz arrived with an accomplice, Joe Cordova, who held Nichols while Diaz stabbed him, the account said. Diaz was sentenced to death, and Cordova to life in prison.
Diaz becomes the 13th inmate to be put to death this year in Texas, the 505th overall since the state resumed capital punishment on December 7, 1982, the 27th inmate to be put to death this year in the USA, and the 1347th overall since the nation resumed executions on January 17, 1977. (Sources: Reuters, Associated Press & Rick Halperin, 26/09/2013)