Attorneys want to describe lethal injection


Associated Press

Posted on June 27, 2014 at 8:01 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Attorneys in a potential death penalty case are arguing that if their client is convicted they should be able to describe in detail to jurors considering lethal injection how their client would die.

The Courier-Journal ( reports attorneys Jon Heck and Ryan Vantrease say they think a jury would spare their client, Ellen Crawley, if they understand the uncertainty around Kentucky executions, which they have described as an "unconstitutional and broken" system.

They want to tell jurors in Jefferson County that the drugs used for lethal injection could cause Crawley to writhe and gasp similar to reactions by two men executed in the U.S. this year. The newspaper reports the request is the first of its kind in Kentucky.

"I like to think we live in a civilized society, where we would not tolerate our citizens being tortured by the state," Heck said.

Prosecutors have objected to the request.

Leland Hulbert, spokesman for Commonwealth Attorney Thomas Wine, said the office's job is to follow the law and the death penalty remains law in the state.

Heck and Vantrease plan to ask a judge on Thursday for another hearing at which officials can testify about the drugs used for lethal injection and detail how they affect the body.

Vantrease said jurors might be more likely to condemn a defendant if they think the person will just go to sleep before they die versus the possibility of someone suffocating.

"If a juror is going to sentence someone to death they need to understand what that really means," Vantrease said.


Information from: The Courier-Journal,