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4 executions are postponed in Tennessee

February 02, 2007|From the Associated Press

NASHVILLE — Gov. Phil Bredesen postponed four executions Thursday so the state could review and better document its procedures for lethal injection.

Bredesen, a Democrat, reiterated his support for the death penalty but said he was issuing the reprieves because he was concerned the written protocol for execution wasn't specific enough.

"The document describes the drugs to be used; it doesn't describe how much is to be used. That's a huge failure of that document," Bredesen said.

Bredesen said a review should be complete by May 2.

The inmates who received the 90-day reprieves were identified as Edward J. Harbison and Daryl Holton, who were to be executed later this month, and Michael J. Boyd and Pervis T. Payne, who were scheduled to be put to death in March.

Harbison, Boyd and Payne have been on death row since the 1980s. Holton was sentenced in 1999.

Tennessee has executed two inmates since 1960.

The ruling comes as states nationwide are scrutinizing lethal injection procedures. Florida placed a moratorium on executions after a lethal injection was botched. Executions also are halted in Missouri, California and North Carolina.

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