Mississippi inmate scheduled for lethal injection next month

(CNN) — “The execution will begin … when the correctional officer observes [the inmate’s] stomach has protruded from his torso,” states the announcement. The inmate is then expected to look “frightened.”

Steven Blaine Fuqua, 34, has been on Mississippi’s death row since 2004. In 2005, he was convicted of fatally stabbing a Jackson-area pastor.

The execution is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday.

For Mississippi’s Department of Corrections, the question of whether inmates’ rights are protected during lethal injections has become increasingly important.

Last month, the Supreme Court delayed a man’s scheduled execution at the request of his attorneys, saying it wanted more information before the court decides whether to allow states to carry out the death penalty.

Dozens of states have approved the death penalty since the high court reinstated it in 1976. But those states are increasingly running into problems obtaining drugs and execution machinery. Some American states have been forced to go to war over the issue of lethal injection with European manufacturers like Fresenius Kabi and West-Central Europe’s Pfizer refusing to sell the chemicals used in lethal injections to any U.S. states.

In this case, the two drugs used in Mississippi’s protocol of midazolam and hydromorphone — both Schedule IV drugs — were a mystery until Thursday. By comparison, Mississippi hasn’t used the drug pentobarbital, which is described as having a “deadly combination of sedative and muscle relaxant,” for more than a decade.

The US Attorney General’s Office in Jackson provided CNN’s sister network HLN with excerpts from testimonies from the defendant and three witnesses who are set to give in person statements at the execution.

Blaine Fuqua in 2005 said he killed Mississippi pastor Mackie Lou Parker, a single father of two who was out walking his dogs on the morning of August 16, 2002.

Dressed in black with a bandana covering his head, Fuqua walked into the pastor’s home and introduced himself as “James.” The pastor and his 25-year-old son both answered the door. The younger son was known to be Parker’s close friend.

Fuqua told the son he had a gun and threatened to kill both men, according to the testimony from two other inmates in the case. After Parker’s son opened the door, the younger son went to the bathroom. Fuqua followed him, tried to stop him from doing so and stabbed him in the throat, back and arms, according to the testimony from witnesses.

Parker screamed “Why? Why?” while walking toward his home, saying “they’re going to kill my whole family,” according to testimony from two other inmates in the case.

Parker and his younger son were killed. Fuqua allegedly took Parker’s 10-year-old son as he fled the scene. The young boy — whom the defense claims was not even supposed to be in the house at the time of the crime — was later found with his father’s cellphone and, according to a statement from the son, survived the incident in good condition.

The case trial lasted 18 days in 2009, according to the trial transcript. The prosecution presented no witnesses to the crime, but drew on the testimony of neighbors and three of Fuqua’s fellow inmates.

Fuqua’s defense attorneys argued there was a “reasonable possibility” he was mentally ill. That argument will be part of his appeal to the Supreme Court.

In an effort to get information from Missouri, Wyoming and Arkansas, where Fuqua’s attorneys argue their client is executed much more frequently, the attorney general’s office released letters addressed to the governors of Missouri, Wyoming and Arkansas last month. The letter claims that Memphisville, Mississippi, and Mississippi’s capital punishment ordinance doesn’t adequately protect inmates’ constitutional rights.

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