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Kentucky Lacks Detailed Plan For Execution Gone Awry

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - When Kentucky carries out its first
execution in eight years, the anonymous execution team will be
well-rehearsed.

Each month, a 12-member team practices everything from strapping
the inmate to the table to pushing the lethal three-drug cocktail
through intravenous, or IV, lines in a new execution chamber that
has never been used except for drills.

That is expected to change in September, with the execution of
cop killer Ralph Baze. Unless a judge stops it, Baze is scheduled
to be executed late in the month.

What the monthly practices don't include, however, is a protocol
for what to do if something goes awry, according to interviews and
court documents.

That gives pause to some death penalty foes, who see the
potential for a long, excruciating execution that borders on
unconstitutional. They cite examples in other states, such as Ohio
where it took more than an hour to put IV lines in an inmate, and
Florida, where an inmate took more than 30 minutes to die. They
note that in Kentucky's last execution, in 1999, the execution team
needed two tries to find a vein in Eddie Lee Harper's arms.

Gov. Ernie Fletcher signed a death warrant for Baze, 52, and set
a Sept. 25 execution date. Baze was condemned to death for the 1992
slayings of Powell County Sheriff Steve Bennett and Deputy Arthur
Briscoe. The lawmen were serving warrants on Baze when he ambushed
them.


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