Death penalty opponent cheers Nixon's decision

The head of an anti-death penalty group told KRCG 13 Friday Gov. Jay Nixon's decision to halt Allen Nicklasson's execution benefitted many Americans.

Rita Linhardt, chair of the board for Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, said if propofol had been used to carry out the execution, it could have jeopardized American doctors' access to the drug. Propofol is normally used as a general anesthetic for intensive-care patients. Most of the nation's propofol supply comes from Europe, and pharmaceutical companies there have threatened to restrict sales to the U.S. if the drug is used for executions. Nicklasson would have been the first person to be executed using this drug.

Nixon has asked the Department of Corrections to look into other means to carry out a lethal injection, but Linhardt said a number of companies that manufacture different drugs used in executions have ethical concerns about the practice. She said a life sentence without parole would be a better alternative even in the case of truly heinous crimes.

Attorney General Chris Koster's office declined to comment on Linhardt's statements. The Department of Corrections did not return calls seeking comment.