Death-row inmate on suicide watch after halted execution

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LAS VEGAS (AP) - The Latest on the planned execution of a Nevada inmate slated to die by a three-drug lethal injection combination never before used in the U.S. (all times local):

Scott Dozier. Nevada Department of Corrections photograph.

4:21 p.m.

A prison official says the death-row inmate whose life was spared pending a legal battle over the drugs to be used for his lethal injection just hours away has been placed on suicide watch as a precaution.

Nevada Department of Corrections spokeswoman Brooke Santina characterized the decision Wednesday to monitor Scott Raymond Dozier as prison policy in cases when an execution is postponed.

Santina says it was not because of any outburst or overt act.

Dozier's attorney, Thomas Ericsson, says he was with Dozier when he and his family learned of the postponement. He says Dozier did not express anger and understands there are things beyond his control.

Santina says the 47-year-old Dozier will receive a psychological evaluation at Ely State Prison before he returns to death row.

Dozier was also placed on suicide watch after his execution was postponed in November.

Wednnesday's delay came after a judge in Las Vegas told prison officials they could not immediately use a sedative produced by a pharmaceutical company that objected to having it used to put someone to death.

It could now be several months before his execution is scheduled again.

The state is expected to appeal the judge's order to the state Supreme Court, and the judge in Las Vegas has scheduled a Sept. 10 hearing involving drug company attorneys.

2:20 p.m.

The execution of a twice-convicted killer has been officially called off, just hours ahead of his scheduled lethal injection at a prison in remote northeast Nevada.

State prisons spokeswoman Brooke Santina announced the decision Wednesday afternoon after a state court judge in Las Vegas earlier in the day ordered the delay at the request of New Jersey-based drugmaker Alvogen.

Santina says the postponement was made official after a conference call involving state officials trying to reconcile one judge's order to carry out the execution and another judge's order to stop it.

Alvogen argued that Nevada prison officials obtained its product, midazolam, through "subterfuge" for unapproved purposes and that it doesn't want its midazolam, used in "botched" executions.

State attorneys denied that claim and said Nevada officials didn't do anything wrong.

Scott Raymond Dozier's execution had been scheduled to take place Wednesday evening in Ely.

12:15 p.m.

The Nevada Supreme Court could hear an appeal Wednesday afternoon of a judge's ruling to halt the use of a drug in the execution of a twice-convicted killer.

Court spokesman Michael Sommermeyer says that some of the seven justices are in Chicago for a Nevada State Bar Association meeting, but that the court could meet by teleconference.

The state of Nevada had not yet appealed by midday. The state said it would explore whether it could appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court.

Scott Raymond Dozier's execution had been scheduled to take place Wednesday evening. Dozier has said repeatedly he wants to die.

Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez ordered the delay after a hearing in which drugmaker Alvogen said the Nevada obtained the product through "subterfuge" for unapproved purposes.

If the ruling sticks, Alvogen would become the first drugmaker to successfully sue to halt an execution.

11:24 a.m.

A Nevada judge is halting the use of a drug in the execution of a twice-convicted killer hours before he was scheduled to die by a first-of-its-kind lethal injection mixture.

Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez ordered the delay Wednesday morning in response to a challenge by New Jersey-based drugmaker Alvogen, which says it doesn't want its product, midazolam, used in "botched" executions.

The order is the first time a drug company has successfully sued to halt an execution in the U.S. involving one of its drugs. A previous challenge in Arkansas was unsuccessful.

Scott Raymond Dozier's execution had been scheduled to take place Wednesday evening in the northeastern Nevada town of Ely.

Dozier has said repeatedly he wants to die and doesn't care if it's painful.

His would be the first execution in Nevada since 2006.

10:08 a.m.

Three drug companies have now objected to Nevada's efforts to use their drugs to execute a man via lethal injection.

Drugmaker Alvogen filed a lawsuit that went before a judge Wednesday seeking to prevent its sedative midazolam from being used in a lethal injection for twice-convicted killer Scott Raymond Dozier.

Alvogen attorney Todd Bice says the state duped its regular pharmaceutical distributor, Cardinal Health, into selling the drug after Alvogen made clear that it opposed the use of its products in executions.

Assistant Solicitor General Jordan Smith says Nevada never tried to hide its purpose. He said Alvogen didn't have a contract in place with Cardinal Health that would have blocked the drug's sale for executions.

Cardinal Health did not immediately respond to phone or email requests for comment.

Sandoz, which produces other drugs Nevada plans to use in the execution, said it wanted to object to the procedure although it hasn't yet joined the suit.

Pfizer last year demanded that Nevada return its drugs that the state intended to use for the execution. Nevada has refused.

9:20 a.m. Wednesday:

A second drug company is asking to intervene in a last-minute Nevada court hearing hours before a twice-convicted killer is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection.

Drug company Sandoz wants to join New Jersey-based drugmaker Alvogen in its objection to the Wednesday evening execution of Scott Raymond Dozier.

Sandoz produces the paralytic cisatracurium and the synthetic opioid fentanyl, which are two of the three drugs Nevada had planned to use on Dozier in a first-of-its-kind combination.

Alvogen produces the sedative midazolam, which Nevada Department of Prisons Brooke Santina says Wednesday was the first drug scheduled to be used on Dozier according to the protocol signed by department director James Dzurenda. She says she did not know of any alternative.

3:55 p.m. Tuesday:

A judge in Las Vegas says she'll hear arguments and expects to decide just hours before a scheduled execution Wednesday on whether a drug company can at least temporarily stop Nevada from using one of its drugs.

Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez scheduled a 9 a.m. hearing on New Jersey-based Alvogen's demand that Nevada prison officials return the drug midazolam the company says was illegally obtained.

Alvogen says in court filings that it doesn't allow uses of midazolam in executions, and that using it in other states has been led to widespread criticism that the process has been botched.

The drug is the first of three expected to be administered during the scheduled 8 p.m. Wednesday execution of Scott Raymond Dozier at a state prison in Ely.

Dozier is a twice-convicted killer for drug-trade mutilation slayings in 2002 in Phoenix and Las Vegas.

Click for earlier stories about this case.
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2 p.m.

A drug company has filed a lawsuit in Las Vegas seeking to stop Nevada from using one of its drugs in a scheduled execution.

New Jersey-based Alvogen filed documents Tuesday in Nevada state court declaring that state prison officials illegally obtained the drug midazolam, and demanding its return.

It's not immediately clear if the lawsuit will stop the execution of Scott Raymond Dozier, scheduled for 8 p.m. Wednesday at a state prison in Ely.

Clark County District Court spokeswoman Mary Ann Price says the drug company would also need to file with Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez a request for an order stopping the execution.

Midazolam was substituted in May for expired prison stocks of diazepam, a sedative commonly known as Valium. The state planned to use it as the first in a three-drug lethal injection protocol.
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9:55 a.m.

The Nevada death-row inmate due to die on Wednesday by a lethal combination of drugs never before used in the U.S. has said over and over that he wants his sentence carried out and he doesn't care if it's painful.

Scott Raymond Dozier's execution was postponed last November over concerns that the untried drug regimen could leave him suffocating and conscious but unable to move.

He repeated his desire to die during a brief telephone interview Sunday with the Las Vegas Review-Journal .

Dozier is a twice-convicted killer for drug-trade mutilation slayings in 2002 in Phoenix and Las Vegas.

He suspended his court appeals, making him one of about 10 percent of inmates who have volunteered to die nationwide since 1977.

His execution would be Nevada's first since 2006.

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