A federal judge denied a request to stay the execution of Missouri death row inmate Russell Bucklew on Monday. Bucklew’s lawyers had argued a rare birth defect would make his pending lethal injection extremely painful and therefore unconstitutional.
Bucklew is a convicted murderer and rapist with a medical condition that causes tumors, which cause bleeding and difficulty breathing, to grow in his head and neck. As a result of the tumors, his lawyers say the lethal injection drugs will fail to circulate and Bucklew will end up choking to death. Bucklew reportedly asked that his execution be videotaped and used as evidence in a civil lawsuit in the state. NBC reports that request was also denied.
His lawyers said in a statement issued Monday that they would “immediately appeal” the judges decision. Bucklew’s execution is scheduled for 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, May 21. His execution will be the first since the botched lethal injection in Oklahoma on April 29.
“We will immediately appeal the denial of a stay of execution because the courts must fully consider Mr. Bucklew's claim that he will die a prolonged tortuous death in violation of the Eighth Amendment during his execution," his lawyers said in a statement.