INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that the state may not use a new combination of drugs to execute an inmate on death row.
Roy Lee Ward, 44, was sentenced to death in December 2002 for the rape and murder of 15-year-old Stacy Payne in Dale, Indiana.
Ward was originally scheduled for execution in May 2013, but received a stay from a federal judge.
In 2014, amid a nationwide shortage of sodium thiopental – the first drug in the cocktail used in lethal injections – the state of Indiana decided to use a drug called Brevital going forward.
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As the Indiana Supreme Court noted in its decision, no prisoner in the U.S. has ever been executed using the cocktail of Brevital (generic name methohexital), pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride the state was proposing to use.
Ward filed a complaint seeking an injunction against his execution by the cocktail in December 2015, arguing the state of Indiana had violated the Administrative Rules and Procedures Act (ARPA) when it selected Brevital as its new execution drug.
Click the image above to see all 12 men and one woman currently on death row in Indiana.
The state argued, unsuccessfully, that the Department of Correction was exempt from ARPA. The Indiana Court of Appeals found that not to be the case.
On Thursday, the court returned a ruling in favor of Ward; issuing a stay of execution and ruling that no inmates may be executed using the Brevital cocktail until the DOC changes its execution protocol in compliance with ARPA.
The ruling affects 12 men and one woman currently on death row in the state of Indiana. Currently, the state has no executions scheduled.