A 33-year-old man with alleged mental impairments was executed by the state of Texas on Wednesday after being administered a single narcotic by lethal injection — the same drug commonly used by veterinarians to kill dogs and cats.
Despite requests for authorities to reconsider the mental functions of Yokamon Hearn, the convicted car jacker and murderer became the sixth death row inmate executed in only seven months by the state. And although the execution occurred in a state unarguably infamous for its routine capital punishment procedures, the case is continuing to raise questions about why and how Hearn was put to death.
Not only had attorneys argued that Hearn suffered severe mental impairments brought on by his mother’s incessant prenatal drinking, but a long history of neglect and abuse from his parents painted a picture of a defendant mentally scared and unfit for execution.
The assistant district attorney argued, however, that honoring this appeal “would be a free pass for anyone whose parents drank.”
Only a day before he was set to die, an official with the United Nations wrote the US to beg for state authorities to reconsider the killing.
“[T]here is evidence to suggest that he…suffers from psychosocial disabilities,” Christof Heyns, the special rapporteur on arbitrary executions for the UN, wrote from Geneva, Switzerland. Heyns also reintroduced the fact that experts clearly opined that Hearn’s mother abused alcohol before his birth, an act that caused him to be “affected by structural brain dysfunction” while still in the womb.
Even after the UN’s pleas, Texas went forth with the execution on Wednesday, killing Hearn by way of lethal injection shortly after 7:00 p.m. local time.
What raises additional scrutiny, however, is how the state went about the killing. For the first time in history of Texas, authorities induced death by injecting the inmate with a single drug — pentobarbital — instead of the standard cocktail of narcotics regularly used in the past. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice confirmed one week earlier that their supply of one of the drugs previously used in executions — the muscle relaxant pancuronium bromide — had expired and that they’d be forced to find another way to carry out the execution.
CONTINUE READING: Texas executes mentally impaired inmate with animal drugs — RT.