Appeals court: Execution back on schedule


The execution of one of two Texas inmates is back on schedule after a federal appeals court overturned a judge's order halting the lethal injections.

A federal appeals court reversed a lower court's order blocking the punishments so the inmates' lawyers could get information about the lethal drug used to kill them.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with state attorney general's office Wednesday that U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore's order was improper and an appeal from the inmates' lawyers was a delay tactic.

Serial killer Tommy Lynn Sells, a serial killer who admitted to killing a 9-year-old San Antonio girl during Fiesta, is set for execution Thursday. Another prisoner, Ramiro Hernandez-Llanas, is set for next week.

Judge: Supreme Court could weigh in

Senior Judge Brent Richardson, who sentenced Sells to life after he was convicted of the 1999 murder of 9-year-old Mary Bea Perez, said Sells' attorneys will likely appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"What they might do is stay the decision pending further hearing on it, or they may agree with the 5th Circuit and say, ‘We're just not going to entertain any arguments on this. We agree with what they've done and we're not going to stop the process,'" Richardson said. "I seriously doubt that the Supreme Court would issue a lengthy opinion on it."

Members of the Texas Moratorium Network, an anti-capital punishment organization applauded the lower court's ruling.

"If someone is going to inject something in my body or a relative of mine's body for something that he has done, yes I would want to know what the constituents of the drugs (are)," said Lawrence Foster.

Foster's grandson was sentenced to death until Gov. Rick Perry commuted his sentence. He believes even death row inmates have the right to know what is going in their body.

"I feel it is an obligation to make individuals aware," he said. "When they inject this drug you're not going to come back and say, ‘Hey, I don't think this was appropriate,' once it is injected in you have no recourse."