The Island of Doctor Musso

In the 19th century H.G. Wells novel The Island of Doctor Moreau the narrator, Edward Prendick, at first fears that the mad Doctor is carrying out experiments on live human beings.  “Could it be possible, I thought, that such a thing as the vivisection of men was carried on here?”

It turns out Dr. Moreau is actually performing grotesque surgeries on animals to try to turn them into humans.  He had been run out of England after a journalist exposed his “wantonly cruel” experiments on animals.

Last night, in 21st century Georgia, state officials, with the participation of Dr. Carlo Musso, carried out something of an experiment on Roy Blankenship.  For the first time in Georgia, the anesthetic Nembutal was used in an execution, despite warnings from its manufacturer that it was not safe for that purpose.  Dr. Musso took part despite the fact that he is alleged to have illegally imported and sold Nembutal to other states without the proper license.


Georgia's Shady Death Penalty Drug Deals

As George Costanza once said: “This thing is like an onion:  the more layers you peel, the more it stinks!

On June 23, Georgia intends execute Roy Blankenship.  For the first time they plan to use Nembutol, the anesthetic they acquired to replace sodium thiopental in their lethal injection protocols (their supply of sodium thiopental was seized by the DEA).

Lundbeck, the Nembutol’s Danish manufacturer has written a second letter demanding that their drug not be used in state killing, now pointing out that the they “cannot assure the associated safety” of the drug.

You can read both letters here.


Georgia Schedules Execution

Georgia has set June 23 as the date for Roy Blankenship’s execution.   Doubts about his guilt persist.  In February, the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles did the responsible thing and granted a stay to allow for DNA testing that might exonerate Blankenship or implicate an alternative suspect.

Unfortunately, the available crime scene samples were too small and degraded and the testing was inconclusive.  There is still some evidence that points to another suspect; without quality physical evidence that can be conclusively tested, questions about Roy Blankenship’s guilt will probably never be resolved.

Today, Republican Ohio Governor John Kasich granted clemency to Shawn Hawkins, based on doubts that Hawkins committed the crime for which he was sentenced to die.  While pondering his decision, Kasich told the media that: “We are not going to go forward with an execution where we are not certain.”  This was the right, and common-sense, course of action, as it was right for the Georgia Board to grant Roy Blankenship a stay for DNA tests.  Given the continuing doubts about Blankenship’s guilt, the right course of action now would be to grant clemency and commute his sentence permanently.