‘This is torture’: Proposed law in Montana looms over Canadian on death row

DM

The fate of a Canadian man who has been on death row in Montana for 38 years could become more tenuous as the state gets closer to removing obstacles that prevent it from resuming executions. Ronald Smith, 63, is originally from Red Deer, Alta., and has been on death row since 1983, a year after he and another man, high on LSD and alcohol near East Glacier, Mont., shot and killed two young Indigenous cousins. Montana specifies that the death penalty must be accomplished by an “ultra-fast-acting” barbiturate. A district court judge stayed executions more than a decade ago after ruling that the proposed use of pentobarbital didn’t meet requirements. But a bill that would allow Montana to use any “intravenous injection in a lethal quantity” has passed in the House of Representatives and is to be voted on this week by the senate. “Given the numerous issues which are appealable by Smith’s attorneys, the case likely will take years to resolve.”

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