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Botched execution key in appeal

HUNTSVILLE, Texas – A convicted murderer set for execution in Texas has his hopes pinned on two appeals, including one challenging the state’s plan to use a drug for which it will not reveal the source – as was the case with drugs used in a botched Oklahoma execution.

Robert James Campbell, 41, who is set to die for killing a 20-year-old Houston bank teller, would be the first U.S. inmate put to death since Clayton Lockett’s vein collapsed during his lethal injection, prompting Oklahoma prison officials to halt the procedure. Lockett later died of a heart attack.

Like Oklahoma, Texas won’t say where it gets its execution drugs, saying it needs to protect the producer’s identity to prevent threats by death penalty opponents. Unlike Oklahoma, which used a three-drug combination in Lockett’s execution, Texas uses a single dose of the sedative pentobarbital to kill inmates.

Campbell’s attorneys say Lockett’s failed execution proves what many inmates have argued since states turned to made-to-order drugs: that the drugs put the inmates at risk of being subjected to inhumane pain and suffering.

Campbell was convicted of capital murder for the 1991 slaying of Alexandra Rendon, who was abducted while putting gas into her car, robbed, raped and shot.