A judge in Washington halted the federal government’s planned execution of a man who kidnapped, raped, and killed a 10-year-old Kansas City Kansas girl, saying the law requires the government to get a prescription for the drug it plans to use.
In her opinion, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan said a federal law that regulates drugs requires the government to get a prescription for the lethal injection drug pentobarbital, which it plans to use to execute Keith Dwayne Nelson.
Chutkan said that under previous court decisions, when pentobarbital is being used for an execution, it is still subject to the requirements in the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, so a prescription is required.
The government can appeal Chutkan’s ruling.
Nelson pleaded guilty in 2001, and was sentenced to death in the 1999 kidnapping, rape, and killing of Pamela Butler.
The 10-year-old was rollerblading in front of her home when Nelson abducted her.
He later raped her before strangling her to death with a wire.