2:21pm

Thu July 21, 2011
The Two-Way

Georgia Set To Videotape Execution Tonight

After a last-minute delay, it looks like the execution of Andrew Grant DeYoung will be videotaped tonight. Yesterday, the Georgia Supreme Court decided not to overturn a lower court's decision to allow the first videotaping of an execution since 1992.

But the state Department of Corrections delayed the execution for 24 hours. DeYoung, who was found guilty of killing his parents and his sister, is now scheduled to be executed by lethal injection at 7 p.m. ET tonight.

The issue of the videotaping is a tad convoluted, but very interesting, so here's a basic narrative we've cobbled up using reports from ABC News and The Atlanta Journal Constitution:

-- Attorneys for Gregory Walker, another death row inmate, argue that Walker should not be executed because it causes needless suffering. The attorneys are concerned about pentobarbital, a drug that just now is being used in executions. In the past, prisons have used sodium thiopental, but the manufacturer quit making it, so Georgia turned to pentobarbital, usually used to euthanize animals, for the first time in the execution of Roy Blankenship.

An Associated Press reporter, who witnessed Blankenship's execution, wrote that he "jerked his head several times throughout the procedure and muttered after the pentobarbital was injected into his veins."

Walker's attorneys said because of that they need to videotape DeYoung's execution in order to "eliminate any dispute as to what transpires in the next lethal injection." Essentially, they want proof that a death row inmate isn't subjected to "unnecessary pain and suffering."

-- A superior court agreed with that saying, "The Court is not making a finding that any executions have been 'botched' but is finding that there are many facts relevant to the constitutionality of the State's execution process that is has refrained from disclosing to those who seek to challenge it." Fulton County Superior Court Judge Bensonetta Tipton Lane added that the videotaping should not interfere with the execution, nor identify anyone carrying it out and that the tape should be immediately sealed and turned over to the court.

-- The State Supreme Court refused to intefere not on the merits of the videotaping but because the Georgia attorney general didn't follow proper procedure.

-- The Georgia AG argued that, "Executions in this state are not public, and the potential for sensationalism and abuse of a videotape of an execution is a great concern."

-- The Supreme Court decided not to step in, yesterday.

Because Georgia had never videotaped an execution, the Department of Corrections said it was delaying it for one day. But barring any unforeseen issues DeYoung will be executed and it will be taped.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.