OU professor says midazolam is an ineffective anesthetic in state lethal injections as Julius Jones execution approaches

With less than 24 hours remaining until the state of Oklahoma is scheduled to execute Julius Jones, an OU professor said the 500 milligram dose of midazolam administered in state executions lacks data to support its effectiveness as a anesthetic.

Jones — a former OU student who was convicted of the 1999 murder of Paul Howell in 2002 — has received two clemency recommendations from the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board. On Sept. 13, the board voted 3-1 to commute his sentence to life with the possibility of parole. Stitt declined to make any decisions on the vote, stating a clemency hearing was the “appropriate venue for our state to consider death row cases.” On Nov. 1, the board again voted 3-1 to recommend clemency for Jones. Stitt has yet to comment on the second recommendation.

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections uses a three-drug protocol, including 500 milligrams of midazolam, 100 milligrams of vecuronium bromide and 240 milliequivalents of potassium chloride. Midazolam serves as a anesthetic, vecuronium bromide as a paralytic and potassium chloride stops the heart. Sixty milliliters of heparin/saline, which prevents blood clots, is administered between each drug.