U.S. Supreme Court halts MO execution

U.S. Supreme Court halts MO execution

BONNE TERRE, MO (KFVS/AP) - The Supreme Court has put off the execution of a Missouri inmate with a rare medical condition who challenged the state's refusal to disclose the source of its lethal injection drug.

The justices on Wednesday said a lower federal court needs to take another look at the case of convicted killer Russell Bucklew.

Bucklew's attorneys said the combination of the secrecy surrounding the execution drug and Bucklew's medical condition affecting his blood vessels makes for an unacceptably high risk that he would experience extreme pain if injected with a lethal dose of pentobarbital Bucklew would have been the first inmate put to death since last month's botched execution in Oklahoma.

Bucklew is on death row for killing a man during a 1996 crime spree.

Russell Bucklew was scheduled to be executed at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, May 21 for the 1996 killing of a romantic rival. However, Justice Samuel Alito granted him a reprieve late Tuesday so that the full Supreme Court can weigh his appeal later Wednesday.

Bucklew has a rare medical condition that causes weakened and malformed blood vessels. His attorneys say he could be subjected to an agonizing death if given a lethal injection of the state's secretly-sourced execution drug.

Captain David James with the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff's Department then and now also worked every aspect of the case.

"He had no regard for anyone's safety as well as his own," said Captain James. "We'll all be safer when he's gone."

"In my closing arguments I called him a homicidal Energizers bunny," said former Cape County Prosecutor Morley Swingle. "If he wanted to kill you and he said he was coming after you there was no stopping him."

Swingle called Bucklew one of the most evil individuals he's ever met.

Copyright 2014 KFVS. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this story.