Justice Derides Injection; Says Eight Belles Died More Humanely

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - A Supreme Court Justice is weighing in on the tragic death of Eight Belles after the Kentucky Derby.

John Paul Stevens says the euthanized filly probably died more humanely than death row prisoners do.

He was speaking in Tennessee at the conference of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Stevens says he learned that it is against the law in Kentucky to kill animals with one of the drugs used to execute prisoners.

The speech comes on the heels of a Supreme Court ruling that shot down a challenge to the three-drug lethal injection protocol by two Kentucky inmates. Stevens voted with the majority on the question of lethal injections but said for the first time that he now believes the death penalty is unconstitutional.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-05-11-08 0800EDT

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