New drug has Indiana Governor, Attorney General wanting to resume executions


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A new drug acquired by the Indiana Department of Correction has the state's Governor and Attorney General seeking the resumption of executions in Indiana prisons, starting with convicted murderer Joseph Corcoran.

“After years of effort, the IDOC has acquired a drug -- pentobarbital – which can be used to carry out executions. Accordingly, I am fulfilling my duties as governor to follow the law and move forward appropriately in this matter,” Gov. Eric Holcomb said.

According to the National Institute of Health, pentobarbital belongs to the barbiturate class of medications and is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for managing various medical conditions such as seizures, status epilepticus, and short-term treatment of insomnia.

"At elevated doses, pentobarbital functions as an anticonvulsant for emergent seizure control and for inducing medically induced comas," the NIH states. "Toxic doses of pentobarbital occur at approximately 1 gram in most adults, with death occurring at two to 10 grams."

Corcoran was found guilty of the murders of four people in 1997. He exhausted his appeals in 2016 and has been awaiting execution.

“In Indiana, state law authorizes the death penalty as a means of providing justice for victims of society’s most heinous crimes and holding perpetrators accountable,” Attorney General Todd Rokita said. “Today, I am filing a motion asking the Indiana Supreme Court to set a date for the execution of Joseph Corcoran.”

According to the Department of Adult Corrections Execution Procedure Manual the execution should include four syringes of Pentobarbital containing 1.25 grams each. The Pentobarbital is combined with saline during injection. 

The state has not executed a human since 2009 when Matthew Wrinkles was executed for the murders of three people.

The United States Federal Government executed Daniel Lewis Lee by lethal injection in Terra Haute in 2020.

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