Oklahoma Pharmacy Says It Won’t Provide Drugs for Missouri Execution

Oklahoma Pharmacy Says It Won’t Provide Drugs for Missouri Execution February 18, 2014


An Oklahoma pharmacy, The Apothecary Shoppe, says it will not provide drugs for the Missouri execution of Michael Taylor. The execution in scheduled for February 28.

Mr Taylor’s attorneys filed suit against The Apothecary Shoppe in an effort to stop them from providing the drugs. Taylor pled guilty to the kidnapping, rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl.

This story raises all sorts of interesting questions. It’s one thing to support the death penalty and another to take part in an execution. A lot of people support the death penalty in theory and have not thought through the ramifications of what it actually involves.

My personal feeling is that Pope John Paul II’s teaching on this subject are exactly right. The death penalty is not necessary to protect the public. We can lock these people up and never let them out again.

I read Ann Rule’s book about Ted Bundy because Bundy is the single best argument for the death penalty I know of. He escaped from incarceration twice. During the second escape, he committed a number of heinous murders, including the rape and murder of a child that he abducted from her school. This murder is the one for which he was finally executed. If we can’t keep these guys locked up, then the death penalty is a necessity.

From FoxNews.com:

An Oklahoma pharmacy has agreed not to provide Missouri with a made-to-order drug for an inmate’s execution scheduled for later this month, according to court documents filed Monday.

According to the documents, The Apothecary Shoppe, of Tulsa, will not prepare or provide pentobarbital or any other drug for use in Michael Taylor’s execution. The documents ask a judge to dismiss the case that Taylor’s lawyers had filed against the pharmacy seeking to stop it from providing the execution drug. A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

Taylor’s attorney, Matt Hellman, said that as part of the deal, the pharmacy acknowledged it has not already provided any drug to the Missouri Department of Corrections for the execution, which is scheduled for Feb. 26.

The department and the Missouri attorney general’s office did not immediately return calls Monday night seeking comment about the agreement or the status of Taylor’s execution.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon indicated last week that the state has drugs to carry out Taylor’s execution. Nixon, speaking at a news conference Thursday, did not directly answer “yes” or “no” when asked about availability of the execution drug but said, “In order to complete that ultimate responsibility, that’s necessary. The Department of Corrections is prepared to carry out that execution.”

Taylor pleaded guilty to abducting, raping and stabbing to death a 15-year-old Kansas City girl in 1989.

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56 responses to “Oklahoma Pharmacy Says It Won’t Provide Drugs for Missouri Execution”

  1. There is a time when there is no alternative—-and IMO the person who committed this crime–in this case abduction, rape and murder of a 15 year old, is responsible for cutting her life short. Her life is gone—does he deserve to live his out, even though it is in jail? In jail he is given food, shelter and medical treatment. At one time it was the gas chamber, the electric chair, now injection(s). Was the child given a choice? NO. I hope they find a drug somewhere.

  2. Interesting lawsuit. If he was to be electrocuted, would they sue the power company to cut off the power? If firing squad, the makers of ammo/company contracted with providing the ammo in the calibre to be used? Hanging, rope suppliers? This seems to be pointless legal gamesmanship to try to postpone the inevitable, not something that ever had a chance of succeeding. A frivolous lawsuit if ever there was one (without even getting into whether the death penalty is a good thing or not–I expect this post will garner some debate, and I’m going to try to sit it out! 😀 ).

  3. I have exactly the opposite response. This person cut short the life on this planet of a 15 year old girl. Why should he get away with such an easy death?

    I come back in line with you on Was the Child given a choice? No. So neither should he be. But a live criminal slowly going mad on webcam in solitary is a far larger deterrent than the death penalty.

  4. I agree with you and the Church except for a couple of reservations. The first is that there are many examples, like Ted Bundy where the convicted murderer confesses and repents only when he realizes that his life is going to be over.
    The second is where, as Pope John Paul II said, the public could not be protected while incarcerating a convicted murderer. I am very concerned about the intention of the AG to bring people like Kahlid Sheik Mohammed and others to CONUS for trial. I can see an instance where their supporters will hold a school, bus full of children or an airliner hostage until they are released. It has happened before. I do not think it was immoral to execute many of the Nazi command and it is not wrong to execute those who are waging irregular war.
    Rebecca. Why can’t the prison use veterinary drugs? Pentothal is Pentothal.

  5. I was doing the math to figure out how old the girl would have been, if not killed (and nothing else took her life), and she would be my age. No telling what life she might have had, but I am very glad that my story in this world didn’t end at that age, since (aside from enjoying being alive!) I think most of the good stuff happens later on, the deep friendships, the travel, the love, learning, and for the majority of people, children to love and raise. For the sake of his soul, I can hope he’s found God sometime in the last 25yrs. But whether he has or not can’t undo his acts that day, or remove the judgement against him in this life.

  6. Massachusetts does not have the death penalty. Fortunately for Whitey Bulger. However because the Boston Marathon bombing was a terrorist act the federal law does provide for the death penalty.

    My thought is that if he is a Muslim and thinks he is going to heaven for what he did, I would rather see him rot in a jail cell.

    My personal belief is that he will be injected, lose consciousness and cease to exist. Why would I want him to get off that easy? He will die fully expecting to wake up in Paradise with 70 virgins, or whatever nonsense he believes and that will be his last thought. And he will be a hero to the Islamists. I’d rather banish him to obscurity and irrelevance in a prison cell and die of old age.

  7. Sorry, but to me the whole thing is an idiotic circus. I am against the death penalty on principle and one of the things I am proudest of about my country is the tradition of Cesare Beccaria and Pietro Verri, the fact that we were the first large country in Europe to abolish it in peacetime (1891), and that after the Fascist abomination had brought it back, we abolished it again and for good in the middle of a war, on the highly significant date of June 6, 1944 – not just the Normandy landings, but also the day when our capital was freed. As far as I am concerned, the point is not whether a man deserves to die or not, but whether the state is to be allowed to kill; the state, mind you, being ultimately you and I in our corporate character, and what it does being – especially in a democracy – directly our responsibility. I have no problems with locking a monster awwy for life (a punishment that is in many ways worse than death), but the state did not make us and it has no right, outside of a situation of war, to demand any of our lives. I make only two exceptions: war conditiions, and dealing with tyrants like Hitler or Pol Pot. And in both cases I regard it as a matter of national self-defence, not of justice as such.

    But if you don’t think so; if you have conscientiously made up your mind that it is right for the state to kill a man and for that man to be killed, then for the love of everything that’s honest stop faffing about around it! Knock off this nonsense of painless drugs, disinfecting the killing area, and so on; and above all, do it yourself. There is no technical problem whatever about killing a man: like the Chinese do, point a gun at the back of his head and shoot. It’s quick, economical, and certain. But as far as I am concerned, it should be the person who has taken the responsibility to say that that man should die, who should squeeze the trigger: the judge, or the governor who refused clemency. You made the decision, you take the responsibility. And if you can’t face it yourself, think again about the justice of it. And stop shoving off the guilt on to various groups of hired executioners whose business it never was.

  8. All right, sister. As I said elsewhere on this thread, if you conscientiously think it right for the state – and the state is ultimately you and I in our corporate capacities – to kill someone, then you ought to be able to do it yourself. Instead of yelling for more gas chambers and electric chairs handled by strangers, picture yourself pointing a gun at the back of this man’s head and shooting. That is the quickest, cheapest and most efficient way of killing a man. If you are willing to say that a man should die, you should be willing to do it.

  9. I support the death penalty becuase it is justice, not necessarily for all murder cases but for some that show a willful disregard for humanity. Now I will say I have wavered from time to time, because mercy is also required of us, and perhaps we should forego justice as an act of civilized society. I don’t know. Ted Bundy and the like deserve the death penalty. But if we are looking at mercy, then life in prison may be a less humane punishment than the death penalty.

    Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy. But what is mercy?

  10. Well, no, sorry, you won’t be allowed to. To repeat an argument I already made, picture yourself in the role of the killing agent. Picture yourself pointing a gun at the back of this man’s head and pulling the trigger; or injecting a deadly agent in his arm and watch him twitch and die; or pull the switch on the electric chair and watch his flesh roast and smoke. The gun making company is not making guns specifically for this execution (although God knows it is making implements for killing people), and the power company has not set up anything special just to kill the guy. These things are neutral. But this pharmacist is asked, against the ethics of his trade, to be personally responsible for supplying poison to kill a man. If you are not willing to hold the gun and point and shoot, yourself, don’t act as though the moral issue had no right to exist for others.

  11. You misunderstood my motives for staying out of the arguement (wanted a break form being part of arguments…I don’t enjoy the back and forth the way some folks obviously do). I have no problem with a particular pharmacist saying he does not wish to craft these drugs. That is his right (exactly how I feel about the “abortion drugs,” and for the same reasons–moral conscience is supposed to be non-negotiable!). As I understand it, we are not talking about someone who is seeking to preserve their own conscience by avoiding crafting a drug that will be used to end the life of a convicted rapist/murderer, we are talking about the legal team of said individual trying to circumvent justice by filing lawsuits to prevent the creation of the drugs that will enable those duly appointed to carry out the sentence of death against this man, now that all the appeals available to them (twenty-some years later) have run out. Those are different scenarios entirely.

    So now, if you must have me explicity say so, no, I do NOT have a problem with seeing death come to a man who brutalized a child and sheared away her life because it meant nothing to him. He has been gifted with 25 undeserved years, approximately 9,000 days, in the least horrific prison system going, during which he has had the chance to repent of his act and turn to God. I hope, for his sake, he has, because if he has, God will welcome him into His kingdom like every other repentant sinner–death will not be the portal to the REAL punishment, but the door to freedom, and Satan’s hope of digging his claws into someone he lead down the path to murder will be denied. However, no matter which fate awaits him, he knowingly committed an act many years ago which carries the punishment of death. His death, unlike hers, will arrive with plenty of warning and a chance to attempt to settle accounts with God and man. And it will not be full of pain and degredation, as was hers, either.

  12. It is an interesting idea that no State has the right to impose death as a sentence for severe crimes against members of its population, via its duly appointed and freely accepting agents. On what do you base this belief? Do you similarly deny States have the right to engage in warfare with other states who attack them, since this will also lead to death for some, and is also carried out by agents (soldiers/sailors/airmen) rather than the ones making the call up the chain of command? If you do not oppose wars of defence, how is it more moral to have men deal death to other men (who may have done nothing immoral to land themselves opposite them on the battlefield), than to have select officers administer death to those whose actions are held to be crimes against not just the one(s) they murdered but also the rest of the citizenry? Particularly since we are talking about men and women who have been determined in a court of law to be worthy of execution and whose sentences have been repeatedly upheld during appeals. In spite of perhaps the media’s presentation to the contrary, death is rarely the sentence one receives for murder here in the USA. That is how we end up with so many murderers who serve their time, get out and then kill someone else and end up back behind bars.

  13. Because they sometimes get out —or kill a person in jail—or perhaps they could get killed while in jail by another inmate (which is a form of justice I guess).

  14. Hate to disappoint, but I don’t work for the prison system here in the USA. 🙂 However, I think it would be possible to pull the trigger on a person who had intentionally killed a member of my family. i have never understood those who can “forgive” the person who purposely took the life of a family member.

  15. Perhaps, but he is still breathing and being fed, clothed and sheltered. Not saying life in a prison is wonderful, but he isn’t out on the streets looking for food etc. Who knows if he is in solitary?

  16. What is mercy indeed – and for whom? The condemned? The victim’s loved ones who are left to suffer? Society? How do pleas deals figure into either mercy or justice?

    If we could try murder cases on the facts rather than our adversarial rules of law and courtroom theatrics, consider the death penalty only in cases where the facts were indisputible, then apply mercy or a swift execution where warranted we might approach actual justice. The system we have now leaves me concerned that actual justice is meted out.

  17. Yes. Life without parole is a far harsher penalty than death. It also allows for the chance that the criminal might actually understand what he has done (it’s usually a man, though over here in Britain we have just recently had an incredibly vicious female serial killer, with two accomplices to boot – so bad that her own sister said she should be put away and never be freed). About repentance: I think we would know that it is serious IF the convict did not try to get time off for good behaviour or the like. If, that is, he (or she) showed an understanding that what they have done is so bad that it can never be altogether paid off.

  18. You did not answer my question. If you conscientiously believe that it is right to deal death to such a man, you must be ready to do it yourself. Would you walk up to that man, with a loaded gun, and pull the trigger? I want a yes or a no.

  19. You have never seriously thought about war, if you can compare it to wanton murder like that. War is the last sanction in a conflict of socieites. After 1783, you have never experienced what it is like to be ruled by an alien and hostile power enforcing its will by hordes of armed thugs who barely speak your language and who regard you as human rubbish to be got moving with kicks. Our fathers know it, which is why all of Europe is intensely pacifist and hates the thought of war except as a last resort. But war can be necessary; you will not remove the foreign hordes from your country by being nice to them. That is simply the way it is. From the moment a country enters a state of war, it enters a situation in which ordinary law gives way to the rule of national survival. When a partisan killed a Wehrmacht trooper, he was not striking at a man, but at an organization that was there to oppress and ultimately to destroy his own people. To compare this with ordinary crime means to have no idea what it means to be oppressed.

  20. I wish I agreed, since what I want in practice is the same as what you want, but you badly underrate the ways of fanaticism. Old Hess, slowly crumlbing from age and mental disorder in Spandau prison, was for decades an object of intense emotional attachment to surviving Nazi cultists. Luckily, after 1945 few people counted themselves as openly Nazi; but the number of jihadist Muslims today is rather larger.

  21. The problem is more one of 14th Amendment protections than technology. It’s easy enough to put a webcam on a cell. It is much much harder to get the courts to let you do it.

  22. YOur very reference to working for the prison system shows that you have not taken my point. My point is exactly that if anyone seriously – seriously – believes it right that another man should be killed, then he or she should be able to do it himself. To hide behind a professional bureaucracy is to hide away from the consequences of your own belief that a man should be killed. And the mention of family is even more absurd: it removes the whole matter altogether from the field of justice into that of personal vengeance, which is not at all the same thing. That is why, in Western tradition, criminal trials are always “the people” (or “the King”) “against so-and-so”; because justice is a collective duty and a collective fact. In deciding whether a man should be killed in the name of justice, it ought to make no difference whatever whether he has killed your brother or a complete stranger; and by the same token, if you believe that it is just to kill him, you should be ready to do it yourself.

    There is an expression in Italian, “armiamoci e partite”, which translates roughly as “let us all get ready for war, then YOU can go to the Front.” It is a good description of an atitude that demands all sorts of things in the abstract, but leaves others to do and suffer them in the concrete.

  23. I could say you have managed to skirt all of my questions as well! 😀 Hopefully once I answer what I had assumed to be a rhetorical question, you will answer mine. I wasn’t trying to be a smart aleck or simply muddly the water or put you off, the notion of appeal to the limit of the state’s powers as a way to do away with the death penalty is a new one to me.
    Now, to answer you: IF I were employed by a prison and was asked to be on a team administering lethal injection to this guy (or someone like him), would I participate? Yes. Would I be praying for all of us involved? Also yes. No one executes people in America the way the Chinese do (tho I agree, it would be a LOT cheaper and simpler). But this is still hypothetical, since I will never be in such a position, due to a whole host of things, ranging from not wanting to work in prisons, to the extremely small number of executions that actually occur, to the likelihood that my license would not qualify me for such a task (my suspicion is it would require higher-level training than I have or intend to pursue). But, there is your answer. Just as I cannot bring myself to spew pacificist plattitudes while enjoying the sacrifice of others, I will not feign that I’m above those who are called to carry out the just will of the people and state.

    Since my understanding is that you think executing murderers is itself murder, not justice, and I believe it is justice, I expect we are at loggerheads on this. I AM still interested in knowing to what you appeal for the removal of the power of death from the state. If you aren’t too disgusted by my reply, could you tell me? I know a lot of non-American social history, but not about this.

  24. It is interesting that you can set aside the humanity of individuals in a foreign army, and accept the death of enemy combatants on account of their being part of an oppressive force (which I also believe is reasonable, only because in war you cannot possibly work things out on a personal level, but necessity it is us vs. them), but you will play up the humanity of someone who has taken it upon themselves to do what you detest about an occupying military (murder, rape, torture) to someone(s) with whom they had no quarrel. I can only assume we are not approaching this with the same beliefs over who has the God-given right to cut short the life of another and what constitutes an activity meriting death.

  25. Missouri does have the two drugs used in Ohio last month. There was recent talk here of using a firing squad –I am assuming it wasn’t fully thought out but you never know. It’s kind of ironic that a shortage of this drug exists because European companies that make it do not support the death penalty.
    Richard Dieter, the exec director of The Death Penalty Info Center noted on this conflict that, “there’s no nice way tot kill people and that’s the dilemma the death penalty presents.
    Something to consider in the full spectrum of prolife. While I haven’ much sympathy for this killer, I agree with the wisdom of Pope John Paul and Thomas Aquinas.

  26. It will be interesting to see what public figures (if any) come out supporting the decision by the pharmacy owners (I presume) not to supply the drug. Whatever one’s feelings about the death penalty, I respect the right of the pharmacy owners not to have to provide the state with the drugs. I imagine many would hail the pharmacy’s position as a brave stand, taking a firm ethical position. Would these same people extend the samethinking to the Little Sisters of the Poor?

  27. If i worked for the prison system and had the job of carrying out the death sentence, yes, I think I could do it. Also in the instance I mentioned above referring to family. Never been on a jury trying a case that might call for the death penalty.

  28. Good Lord, what an experience. You seem literally incapable of reading what is written, black on white, on the page. You are so obviously sure that there is one, and only one, argument against State killing, that you ascribe it to me unhesitatingly and without making the least effort to show where and how I am supposed to have said it. I dare you, I double dare you, to find one sentence, one phrase, one word, in which I argued from the supposed humanity of the murderer. Humanity, Hell! Literally: Hell is human, it was not created by God but by human beings who reject God.

    Now go and read what I wrote; and this time, please get rid of your preconceptions. They aren’t doing you any good. What I wrote is simple. The State means ultimately alll of us in our corporate character. That goes double for a democratic state. Hence, the issue is not whether such and such a man should die, but whether the State – and that means ultimately YOU and me and everyone else – should be able to kill him. So my view is: if you are conscientiously sure that a certain man should die, you should be able (one the sentence has been passed and so on, of course) to pick up a gun, load it, and shoot a bullet in the back of his head. This is the Chinese system, simple, quick, certain, and unfussy, without all the macabre theatre of disinfected gurneys and lethal injections. I am saying that the whole apparatus of executioners and ever more complicated ways of supposedly painless death are nothing more than escapes from reality and specifically from responsibility. If you can’t picture yourself putting a bullet in the back of the head of a man you have condemned to death, then you should not condemn him to death. Period. And for the same reason, I would abolish the whole rubbish about professional executioners and demand that the pistol should be held, and the trigger pulled, by the judge who passed the sentece, or by the governor who refused the last plea for mercy. The things that you demand others do, you must be willing to do yourself. That is responsibility; everything else is playacting.

  29. Because they “sometimes” get out, and because they “sometimes” kill a fellow criminal in jail, they should “always” be killed instead of jailed for life. That is what you said, you know.

  30. Forget your understanding of what I am supposed to think and please answer what I say. Since I have said in so many words that the whole macabre and ridiculous apparatus of state executioners, poison and gurneys and all the rest is nothing more than a way to hide from the reality of what you are doing, I simply don’t see the point of your saying that IF you were a state executioner, you would do what you were paid for. I am saying that no such person as a state executioner should exist, and that the person who takes the resposistibility to decree that a man should die is the person who should do it: you, if you are in that position – or, more realistically, the judge or the governor. It’s not hard; even an old and feeble man can hold a gun to the back of a man’s head and pull the trigger. The point is that you have to really mean what yo say, rather than setting up a ludicrous, expensive and pointless apparatus for shoving the actual dirty work onto third parties.

  31. It’s a terrible problem. I’m hoping they don’t do anything at the Olympics. I can’t imagine that they will allow it to go on peacefully without trying to do something.

  32. |I don’t think it was an insult. I said she did not answer my points and instead answered points that were real to her but had nothing to do with what I said. Where is the insult in that?

  33. Fabio, since the state or king has historically and around the world held the power of life or death over those within their borders who harm others, I still do not understand where you ultimately get the notion that they cannot have that power (your training in social/historical matters is far beyond mine, so I wondered if you had read someone that gave you this idea). Yes, you simply state that they don’t because “we” don’t. But the state as a power structure is more than just “us” magnified. It has and exercises many powers that individuals are not authorized to execute, from collecting taxes to imprisoning offenders to executing them. Which brings me back to, how did you reach the belief that they cannot have this power (a power Scripture nowhere disavows, while demanding impartiality in judgement)? Why do you limit their power in this particular matter? Because it seems more Christian to you? Because that is what your native land has done for the recent past? Some other reason? The reasons I don’t oppose the death penalty come down to the belief that God has not rescinded the judgement that those who brazenly shed blood must have their blood shed. All the other reasons I could list (and there are a few) are secondary and tertiary reasons, and which I would set aside if I truly believed God had changed and demanded instead that we lock them up and provide for them until they finally die of old age, 30, 40, 50, 60 years later.

  34. I *think* I’ve responded to this above, so I’m not going to try to reply here, unless you conclude I didn’t really address the state’s right to appoint agents to carry out various tasks on behalf of society.

  35. Well, of course people tend to value ethical stands only if they are on their side. There is no need to blame everyone for this: often they simply never have thought on the matter. But I like to think that there are people who would recognize the coherence of taking a conscientious-objection stand in both cases, even if they disagree.

  36. Utah and, I believe, Idaho both allow and have used firing squads for executions. It think that comes from some groups requirement for blood atonement.

  37. It seems to me that a society too squeamish to stomach the inherent violence of an execution has no business carrying out the penalty. I mean, we have this penalty as the ultimate form of retributive justice, a way to pay back the suffering and the end of life more or less on the scale that the perpetrator did to the victim. Yet when it comes down to brass tacks, we haven’t the guts to shoot them or hang them or behead them. We sanitize it and hide it away and dither over whether the euthanasia cocktail takes too long or causes too much pain or (get this), meets FDA standards for sterility! We want to kill, but not if we have to get our hands wet or have any unpleasantness to the affair. The writing is on the wall. The death penalty is coming to an end in this country.

  38. Rebecca, I didn’t take it badly. I have seen Fabio’s communication style for a little while now, and know that he tends to be blunt and very persistant if he has a particular point he’s going after.
    Fabio, I really haven’t been trying to be dumb or “cute” in my replies, even if that’s how they come across. The back and forth of debate isn’t something I’ve gotten into before, because by nature I really just want everybody to be happy and get along. My normal way of operating is to keep the peace at the expense of sharing a contrary opinion, or try to “flee” confrontation if it happens. That’s a weakness I’m trying to overcome. Please forgive me if I am currently a lousy debate partner. 🙂

  39. Let’s leave it at that. I actually dislike forcing myself on people who have no desire for debate or who feel it as a constriction. Thank you for not losing your temper.

  40. You didn’t say anything that made me mad, maybe a little confused because I thought I was communicating better than I was. Thanks for taking the time to banter with me. 🙂

  41. Always killed? No. Depending on the details of a murder, “sometimes” execution should be the punishment. Rereading your statement, as I totally answered in a hurry, there could be instances that life without parole would be satisfactory. Have had a hectic week, for many reasons.

  42. I don’t think “we” as a society particularly object to any of those things. The objections are to the penalty, not how it’s carried out. Objections to the means are the objections of defense lawyers looking for anything they can use to stall an execution.