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“If they start breathing before the heart stops, they might not die,” Groner said. That would force the process to be restarted.

Critics also question the safety of the single-drug method. Missouri becomes the third state with a single-drug protocol, along with Arizona and Ohio. Three others _ South Dakota, Idaho and Washington _ have options for single- or multiple-drug executions, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. California and Kentucky are exploring a switch to the one-drug method.

Concerns were raised after a one-drug execution last month in Arizona. Thomas Arnold Kemp, a 63-year-old convicted killer, shook for several seconds upon receiving a lethal dose of pentobarbital.

The debate over the administration of lethal drugs has angered some capital punishment advocates who suggest that death row inmates _ largely convicted killers _ seem to get more compassion than their victims.

Carol Angelbeck has spent years urging Missouri officials to pick up the pace on executions. Angelbeck’s 24-year-old daughter, Mindy Griffin, was raped and strangled by Michael Worthington, who broke into her suburban St. Louis condo in 1995. Worthington is awaiting execution.

“If they can’t find a drug they like, go to hanging,” Angelbeck said. “Maybe they should feel some pain and others would think twice about killing someone.”