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November 23, 2017

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Nevada execution postponed over dispute about paralytic drug

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Ken Ritter / AP

Nevada death row inmate Scott Raymond Dozier confers with Lori Teicher, a federal public defender involved in his case, during a Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, appearance in Clark County District Court in Las Vegas.

Updated Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017 | 6:20 p.m.

The execution for a Nevada death row inmate who has asked to die was pushed back today after a Clark County judge ordered a paralytic be removed from a proposed three-drug injection designed to kill him.

The scheduled Nov. 14 execution of Scott Dozier, a convicted killer of two men in separate crimes in 2005 and 2007, will now face a Nevada Supreme Court review after Justice of the Peace Jennifer Togliatti ruled to remove cisatracurium, citing a request made Wednesday by Dozier. The scheduled execution of Dozier would have been the first in Nevada in 11 years.

Defense attorneys argued the paralytic drug could hide signs the other two drugs — sedative diazepam and opioid painkiller fentanyl — were failing in the event of a botched execution. Citing the defense’s expert witness anesthesiologist David Waisel, attorneys said Dozier may be able to feel himself suffocating to death.

A Clark County jury convicted Dozier and sentenced him to death in 2007 for killing 22-year-old Jeremiah Miller at the La Concha Motel, draining Miller’s body of blood in a bathtub and taking $12,000 that Miller had brought from Arizona to buy substances for making methamphetamine.

Dozier was also convicted of second-degree murder two years earlier in Phoenix for shooting and killing 26-year-old Jasen Green, stuffing Green’s body in a plastic container and leaving it in the Arizona desert.

State attorneys, deliberating on behalf of the Nevada Department of Corrections, argued Thursday the state could go forward with only diazepam and fentanyl. Dozier said he wished as much in a hearing on Wednesday.

Togliatti granted a stay of the execution pending a ruling from the Nevada Supreme Court.