Missouri postponed the planned execution of convicted killer Allen Nicklasson over concerns about potential fallout from using the popular anesthetic propofol as a capital punishment drug.
Gov. Jay Nixon stopped the procedure, which was set for Oct. 23, and ordered the state’s corrections department to devise a plan for doing lethal injections that do not involve the drug, the Associated Press reported.
“As governor, my interest is in making sure justice is served and public health is protected,” according to a statement released by Nixon’s office. He said a new execution date would be requested by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster.
The execution would have been the first in the United States to use propofol, which is the main anesthetic used in U.S. hospitals (and also the drug that Michael Jackson overdosed on in 2009). Most of the drug is made in Europe, and the European Union has threatened to limit its export if it is used in executions.
Many pharmaceutical makers have ceased sales of their drugs to prison systems because of their use in executions.