Carey Dean Moore’s execution will be first in nation to use four-drug protocol

July 28, 2018

LINCOLN — A morning execution has been set for double-murderer Carey Dean Moore, a schedule used in the past to avoid demonstrations by rowdy, late-night crowds outside the prison.

The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services announced Friday that the execution of Moore, condemned for killing two Omaha cabdrivers in 1979, will occur at 10 a.m. on Aug. 14.

The execution at the State Penitentiary in Lincoln will be the state’s first using lethal injection, and the first in the nation to use the four-drug protocol recently adopted by state prison officials.

State law allows three witnesses to attend the execution on Moore’s behalf and one member of the clergy. Up to three witnesses will be allowed to attend on behalf of the victims’ families.

Corrections Director Scott Frakes may designate up to six more people to witness the execution, including two witnesses who must be members of the media.

A press release from the Corrections Department on Friday said the witnesses had not yet been named, and that the time of the execution squared with past practices.

The state’s last execution, in 1997, was carried out in the morning. Nebraska prison officials said they switched to a mid-morning execution for Robert Williams to avoid the raucous, party-like atmosphere that surrounded the two previous nighttime executions of Harold Lamont Otey in 1994 and John Joubert in 1996.

Otey’s execution attracted a crowd of more than 1,000, including many who carried signs and some who sang the song “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” after it was announced that the death sentence had been carried out.

When Williams was executed, fewer than 60 people gathered outside the State Penitentiary, and the atmosphere was described as “much quieter” and “mellow.”

Moore, 60, shot Omaha cabdrivers Maynard Helgeland and Reuel Van Ness five days apart in 1979. He was sentenced to death in 1980 and has served more time than any of Nebraska’s other 11 death row inmates.

The execution warrant says the Corrections Department shall carry out the sentence by “administering to appellant, Carey Dean Moore, an intravenous injection of substance or substances in a quantity sufficient to cause death, as provided by law.”

Prison officials announced late last year that they had obtained four lethal injection drugs to carry out executions, including the powerful opioid fentanyl. The state has refused to reveal where it obtained the drugs, which critics, including the ACLU of Nebraska, say is a dangerous flaw, given the state’s past problems in obtaining lethal injection drugs from foreign suppliers.

One of the state’s drugs is set to expire at the end of August. The attorney general had asked the State Supreme Court to set the date on July 10, citing concerns about the drug expiring.

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