Local group protests execution drug sales

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A Kansas City-based anti-death penalty group has found in Oklahoma a new target in its effort to end capital punishment in Missouri.

Members of the group Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty are in the midst of a planned 10-day vigil at a compounding pharmacy in Oklahoma which they believe is the source of Missouri's execution drug, now in demand as the state prepares to execute its second convicted murderer in as many months.

"Pharmacies should not be engaged in taking life," Catherine Burnett said, a leader of the group. "They are in the healing profession. So we see this as a contradiction in terms of their ethics."

Thursday, three members of the group stood for hours outside the Apothecary Shoppe in Tulsa, Okla., waving homemade signs and attempting to spread their message. Various media reports have implicated the pharmacy in the sale of execution drugs, which its owners deny.

By state law, the pharmacy which sells the execution drugs is considered a part of the execution team and must be kept secret. But with national interest piquing on the source of drugs used in several recent executions, death penalty opponents are seizing upon a chance to attack a possible weak link in the execution chain.

"It is important to know how and where these drugs are coming from," Burnett said. "We have no information of how the drug works, or what's in this concoction."

A manager at the Apothecary Shoppe declined repeated requests for comment on Thursday and spokespeople from the Missouri Department of Corrections did not return messages left by a reporter asking about the topic.

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