Utah Judge Sets August Execution Date for Convicted Murderer Amid Concerns Over Lethal Injection Protocol


A Utah judge on Monday set an August execution date for a man convicted in the 1998 murder of a 49-year-old woman, siding with defense counsel concerned about a new lethal injection medication combination.

Taberon Dave Honie, 48, is scheduled to be murdered on August 8 after decades of unsuccessful appeals. According to Utah Department of Corrections spokesperson Glen Mills, this is the state’s first public execution since Ronnie Lee Gardner was murdered by firing squad in 2010.

Honie’s attorney, Eric Zuckerman, stated during a Monday court hearing that state officials just alerted the defense about the “experimental” medicine combination on Friday, which did not provide enough time for Honie to assess the pills and make an informed decision.

Mills added that two of the three medications planned for Honie’s execution have previously been used: the pain killer fentanyl and potassium chloride to stop the heart. However, Mills is unaware of any previous use of a third potential medication, the tranquilizer ketamine.

“The state has not released any information regarding this unique operation, including drug dosages. “And the state has stated that it will not revise its written procedures, making it the only jurisdiction to proceed with an execution without accurate written procedures,” Zuckerman said in a statement following the hearing. He requested additional information and time to confer with medical professionals.

Dan Bokovoy, an attorney for the Department of Corrections, stated that the statute did not force the agency to change its policies. Daniel Boyer of the Utah Attorney General’s Office claimed that Honie had exhausted his appeals and that the judge’s responsibility was to sign off on the execution and set a date.

Judge Jeffrey Wilcox agreed with the state, stating that there was no legal basis for further delaying the sentencing.

“I am not prepared after hearing the arguments today to rule and say that these (lethal injection) protocols are required before this court will sign a writ of execution,” Wilcox stated in court. He also stated that inmates do not have a due process right to receive the parameters of their execution protocol.

However, Wilcox demanded that information about the administration of the medications for the execution be supplied to Honie as soon as feasible.

Honie was convicted of aggravated murder in 1999 for killing Claudia Benn, 49, on July 9, 1998.

Honie, then 22, crashed through the glass patio door at Benn’s house when she was home with her three granddaughters and daughter, according to court records. Honie cut Benn’s throat four times, and when police arrived, he was covered in blood, according to court documents.

According to the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington, D.C., the death penalty was essentially abolished by the United States Supreme Court in 1972 before being resurrected four years later.

Since then, seven people have been killed in Utah, four by lethal injection and three by firing squad, according to Mills.

Honie’s execution will take place at the Utah State Correctional Facility in Salt Lake City, Mills announced.

His unsuccessful appeals included claims that his trial attorney failed to raise questions concerning Honie’s mental condition and substance usage throughout the sentencing process.

Executions in Utah are currently carried out by lethal injection unless the medications required are unavailable or there is another reason why it cannot be carried out, Mills stated. In that instance, he stated that a firing squad can be used as a backup form of execution.

Bedayn is a corps member of the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service organization that deploys journalists in local newsrooms to tackle underreported stories.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.