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South Dakota's Single-Drug Execution

As noted in the News Scan today, South Dakota carried out its first execution using the single-drug pentobarbital method that is rapidly becoming the new standard.  The crime is described in yesterday's News Scan.  KELO has this report:

[AP's Dave] Kolpack says as the Pentobarbital was administered, Robert appeared to clear his throat before making some heavy gasps.  A short time later, he could be heard snoring for about 30 seconds.

John Hult with the Argus Leader says Robert opened his eyes after three or four deep breaths, but there was no movement after that.  The warden called in the coroner's assistant at 10:15 p.m.  She checked for a pulse on Robert's wrist, neck and two places on his chest.  She examined him for six or seven minutes.  She left at one point to confer with the warden before returning to the chamber and checking for a pulse again.  Minnehaha County Coroner Kenneth Snell came in to check for a pulse and Robert was pronounced dead within one minute, at 10:24 p.m.  His body was taken away from the Penitentiary at 10:52 p.m.

Video of the statement of Lynette Johnson, the widow of correctional officer Ron Johnson, is also on the KELO site.

Eric Robert was already in prison for a de facto life sentence, so an additional term of imprisonment for the murder of Officer Johnson would have been no sentence at all.

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