GUILTY ON ALL COUNTS: The Holly Bobo Murder Trial

Court allows Arkansas to use execution drug

Ledell Lee appears in Pulaski County Circuit Court Tuesday, April 18, 2017, for a hearing in which lawyers argued to stop his execution which is scheduled for Thursday. He is set for execution Thursday night. Lee was sentenced to death after being convicted of killing Debra Reese with a tire iron in February 1993 in Jacksonville. (Benjamin Krain/The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Arkansas Supreme Court is allowing the state to use a lethal injection drug in upcoming executions, despite a supplier’s complaint that it was sold to the state to be used only for inmates’ medical care.

Justices on Thursday lifted a judge’s order preventing the state from using its supply of vecuronium bromide, one of three drugs used in Arkansas’ lethal injection protocol. McKesson Corp., a medical supply company, said the state misleadingly bought the drug and that it wasn’t intended for executions.

The ruling clears one of the main legal hurdles the state faces in its effort to carry out two executions Thursday night. A stay remains in place for one of the inmates on an unrelated issue. Arkansas has not put an inmate to death since 2005.

Arkansas had scheduled eight executions over an 11-day period before the end of April, when its supply of another lethal injection drug expires. The first two executions were canceled because of court decisions. Legal rulings have put the others in doubt.