Michael Anthony Taylor is sitting on Death Row in Missouri because he pleaded guilty to abducting, raping, and fatally stabbing a 15-year-old girl back in 1989. At the end of January, he is scheduled to receive the death penalty by lethal injection, but Taylor hasn't accepted his fate without a fight. Instead, he is suing the Oklahoma pharmacy that supplies the killing drug because he says their version of it causes a great deal of pain and a much slower death. And, according to reports, the pharmacy has agreed.
The drug used in lethal injections is called pentobarbital. It's supposed to provide a relatively quick and painless death, but the last few times a certain version of it -- allegedly provided by the Oklahoma pharmacy -- was used, one inmate reported feeling his body burning prior to death, while another prisoner's heart continued to beat for 10 minutes after he stopped breathing. The assumption is that the drug supplied by this one outlet is either contaminated or not as potent, which is why prisoners are experiencing these side effects.
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Taylor sued because he wants to avoid "severe, unnecessary, lingering, and ultimately inhumane pain," according to reports.
So, let's review: Taylor inflicted severe, unnecessary, and inhumane pain on someone's child, but deserves a painless death? I've never been an advocate for the death penalty, mainly because there is always the possibility that an innocent person is being forced to die. But I will admit that getting older and becoming a mom have swayed my beliefs about it slightly -- particularly when it comes to cases where a child has been harmed and the suspect has pleaded guilty.
It seems awfully silly to condemn a man to death but then agree to give him a comfortable death. If I were the mom of the teen who was raped and killed by this man, I wouldn't take too kindly to a company agreeing to back down because Taylor fears pain. Perhaps he has grown a great deal as a person in the 20-plus years since he committed this crime, but the punishment he received is what was deemed appropriate for the incredibly heartless and cruel act he inflicted upon an innocent little girl.
What do you think? Does a prisoner on Death Row deserve to die in the most humane way possible?
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