Two more court rulings threaten Arkansas execution wave

Arkansas’ effort to carry out a rush of executions before its supply of a hard-to-get lethal injection drug expires hit more setbacks on Wednesday, when the State Supreme Court granted a reprieve to inmate Stacey Johnson, who was scheduled to die Thursday. Separately, a county court judge blocked the state from using the drug vecuronium bromide, one of the three drugs in the state’s lethal-injection cocktail, putting all of the planned executions in limbo. McKesson Corp., the country’s largest drug distributor, argues that the Alabama Department of Corrections purchased its supply of vecuronium bromide under false pretenses, knowing that drugmaker Pfizer does not allow its products to be used for capital punishment. The developments came after court rulings blocked two executions scheduled for Monday. They were to start an unprecedented flurry of eight executions in 11 days.

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