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State agency will formalize procedures for executions


St. Louis, MO. – The Missouri Department of Corrections will clarify its protocol on executions.

But some death penalty opponents and lethal injection experts say that isn't enough to ensure against cruelty to inmates.

State Corrections chief Larry Crawford says he should have been notified when a physician who assists in state executions prepared a lower-than-expected dose of anesthesia for the last several inmates who were put to death.

Crawford plans to formalize the injection procedures and limit an individual doctor's discretion.

The issue came up this week during a hearing on whether Missouri's method of execution is cruel and unusual.

The anesthetic is supposed to render a person unconscious so he doesn't feel a painful third drug.