- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 29, 2015

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The state of Mississippi wants to execute Richard Gerald Jordan, the longest-serving inmate on death row, on or before Aug. 27.

The Mississippi Supreme Court will have the last say.

In a motion filed Tuesday, Attorney General Jim Hood told the justices that Jordan has exhausted all his legal remedies. The Supreme Court gave Jordan’s attorneys until Aug. 5 to respond to Hood’s motion.

Jordan was convicted of capital murder committed in the course of kidnapping Edwina Marta in Harrison County in 1976.

Now 68, Jordan is the oldest inmate on Mississippi’s death row, having won three successful appeals only to be resentenced to death. He’s also the longest serving, having spent 38 years in death row.

Jordan is a plaintiff in a pending lawsuit to halt executions by challenging the state’s lethal injection protocol. He questions whether the state could mix a safe and effective form of pentobarbital as an anesthetic.

Hood made no mention of the lawsuit in his motion. Earlier, however, Hood’s office said it would wait until a replacement drug was found for pentobarbital.

Asked about whether a new drug had been obtained, Hood’s office released a statement Wednesday saying: “The Mississippi Department of Corrections amended its lethal injection protocol Tuesday to include the use of midazolam. MDOC can no longer obtain sodium thiopental or pentobarbital due to efforts by death penalty opponents … The use of midazolam in lethal injections was recently found to be constitutional and not a violation of the 8th Amendment.”

The U.S. Supreme Court in June upheld Oklahoma’s use of the sedative, midazolam, in executions.

MDOC officials referred question to Hood’s office.

Jordan was sentenced to death on four separate occasions in the case. Following the first three convictions, Jordan challenged his death sentence successfully, was re-tried, and was again re-sentenced to death.

In 1991, after a third successful challenge to his sentence, Jordan entered into an agreement with the prosecution to serve a sentence of life imprisonment without parole in exchange for not further contesting his sentence.

Jordan appealed to the Mississippi Supreme Court, saying he had agreed to the sentence but it was invalid under state law.

The Supreme Court in 1997 agreed, ruling life without parole as a sentencing option did not exist until July 1, 1994. The justices said the only sentences available to Jordan were death or life imprisonment with parole. The justices ordered a new sentencing hearing.

Thereafter, Jordan sought a life with parole sentence. The prosecutor refused. The prosecutor said that, because Jordan “violated” the first agreement by asking the court to change his earlier sentence, the prosecutor would not again enter into a plea agreement with Jordan for a life sentence. The prosecutor instead successfully sought the death penalty for the fourth time in a 1998 sentencing trial.


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