Tonight, the state of Texas is set to conduct the first execution since Oklahoma botched Clayton Lockett's last month. The death of 41-year-old Robert James Campbell, who confessed to and was convicted of the 1991 rape and murder of Alexandra Rendon, is scheduled for 6 p.m. He will die by lethal injection of a single drug, pentobarbitol.
Campbell was 18 at the time he murdered Rendon, 20. He and an accomplice abducted her and took her to a field where, after sexually assaulting her, they told her to run, and shot her in the back. He would participate in another kidnapping before he was eventually arrested for the Rendon murder.
In an eleventh-hour appeal, Campbell's lawyers tried to make use of the grisly reports from Oklahoma to get a stay. In documents filed with the court yesterday, they argue to the Fifth Circuit that they need to learn the sources of the compounded pentobarbitol to be sure that it was safe and effective method of execution. The use of compounded drugs, and their safety and efficacy, has been identified as a potentially major problem in Oklahoma's chosen method of execution. But Oklahoma uses three drugs in its process, not just one. And so, citing clear precedent, the Fifth Circuit denied Campbell's petition late yesterday.
Campbell had also recently lost another appeal based on the Supreme Court's twelve-year-old ban on the execution of the mentally disabled. Campbell's IQ, which has been tested several times, hovers around 70. That is the generally accepted threshold for the Supreme Court's ban, but a split Texas Court of Criminal Appeals rejected that claim on Campbell's behalf a few days ago.
Campbell will be the eighth person Texas has executed so far in 2014.
UPDATE, 4:52 P.M.: In a last-minute decision, the Fifth Circuit issued a stay of Campbell's execution, pending its consideration of a habeas corpus petition based on his alleged disability.
[Photo via AP]