Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Inmate executed with 1st Arizona use of new drug

FLORENCE, Ariz. — An Arizona inmate convicted of raping and killing a 13-year-old girl in 1984 has been executed with a drug that has never been used before in the state.

Arizona death row inmate Donald Beaty is seen in an undated photo provided by the Arizona Dept. of Corrections. The Arizona Supreme Court scheduled a hearing Wednesday morning, May 25, 2011 after temporarily halting the planned execution of inmate Beaty, who is scheduled to die Wednesday by lethal injection for the 1984 rape and murder of a 13-year-old Tempe girl. The Arizona court's temporary stay of execution was issued late Tuesday night after Arizona officials said they had planned to replace one of three drugs to be used in the execution because federal officials contended the state failed to fill out a form to import the drug being swapped out. That prompted Beaty's lawyers to file motions seeking the stay of execution from the state's highest court and the U.S. District Court in Phoenix, arguing he hadn't had adequate opportunity to review the late change in drug protocol. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic via Arizona Dept. of Corrections)

Arrizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch, center, asks a question Wednesday, May 25, 2011 during a hearing in Phoenix on whether to allow the scheduled execution of inmate Donald Beaty to take place on Wednesday or keep a stay in place to give his lawyers time to study the state's last-minute plan to substitute one of three execution drugs. Beaty, was scheduled to die Wednesday by lethal injection for the 1984 rape and murder of a 13-year-old Tempe girl. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Mark Henle)

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Fifty-six-year-old Donald Edward Beaty died by lethal injection at 7:38 p.m. Wednesday at the state prison in Florence after failing to win a flurry of appeals.

The state used a new execution drug as part of a three-drug method, replacing the controversial drug sodium thiopental with pentobarbital.

Beaty was on death row for well over two decades after being convicted of raping and murdering Christy Ann Fornoff.

She was making collections on her newspaper route with her mother at a Tempe apartment complex where Beaty was a custodian when he took her into his apartment, and raped and suffocated her.

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Davenport reported from Phoenix. Associated Press writers Carmen Castro in Florence and Jesse Holland in Washington contributed to this report.

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May 25, 2011 11:31 PM EDT

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