Florida’s recent history has seen a number of botched executions, notably that of Angel Diaz in 2006 which resulted in then-Governor Jeb Bush suspending all executions and establishing a commission to look into the issue, leading to a two-year hiatus.
The recent execution of Roy Willard Blankenship in Georgia using pentobarbital was reminiscent of that of Mr Diaz – both men grimaced, struggled and appeared to be inadequately anaesthetised. Harvard anaesthesiologist Dr David Waisel has said that, judging by eyewitness accounts, Mr Blankenship was “inadequately anesthetized” and “suffered greatly”. He has warned that “Mr. Blankenship’s reaction to the pentobarbital injection may be indicative of other inmates’ reactions.”
As Mr Valle’s is set to be in Florida, Mr Blankenship’s execution was the first to be carried out in Georgia using pentobarbital. Concerns over excessive suffering as a result of the new drug have also seen legal challenges, stays, and even the videotaping of an execution in other states.