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New Questions Surrounding The Stay Of Richard Glossip's Execution

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More questions remain in the wake of the near-execution of Richard Glossip on Wednesday. More questions remain in the wake of the near-execution of Richard Glossip on Wednesday.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

More questions remain in the wake of the near-execution of Richard Glossip on Wednesday. On Thursday, state officials began to address some of the most pressing about how the state was given potassium acetate instead of potassium chloride and what it means for other upcoming executions.

According to the department of corrections director Robert Patton, the DOC acted out of "an abundance of caution." A spokesperson later said the motivation for the caution was in a legal and medical sense because it was unclear if the law allowed with the use of potassium acetate and because it couldn't get a concrete medical definition of the drug.

“When I was informed that this was a different name of drug, the protocol worked. I said 'stop.' that's what the protocol is supposed to do,” Patton said in an interview Thursday afternoon.

10/1/15 Related Story: OK DOC Director Speaks To Press Regarding Richard Glossip’s Execution

The DOC spokesperson said the pharmacist acted as a medical professional, not a legal professional, when sending potassium acetate without informing the state of the change. The pharmacist’s name nor the name of their company was released by the DOC.

 "I hope that people realize that Oklahoma is trying to do the right thing and to make sure we get the processes right. We don't know why that particular potassium was delivered," Gov. Mary Fallin said Tuesday.

But the events of Richard Glossip’s near-execution complicates things for the three men on death row set to be put to death this year. Thursday morning, Attorney General Scott Pruitt says his office is launching an investigation. He’s also requesting the indefinite stays of the executions of Benjamin Cole on October 7th, John Grant on October 28 and Glossip's rescheduled execution on November 6th. All need the approval of the state court of appeals.

10/1/15 Related Story: AG Requests Indefinite Stay Of All Executions In Oklahoma

But the state doesn't have a back-up execution protocol. The protocol to use nitrogen gas isn't allowed to begin until November first. DOC officials said it hasn’t been started as of Thursday and could take years before it's an approved alternative to lethal injection by the court system.

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