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April 25, 2014

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Va. lethal injection drug same as one in Ohio suit

Updated Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014 | 1:47 p.m.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia's list of approved lethal injection drugs now includes one of the chemicals used in an Ohio execution that led to a lawsuit by the man's family who says his death was cruel and inhuman.

The Virginia Department of Corrections says it has approved the sedative midazolam as an alternative first drug in the state's three-drug execution protocol.

Midazolam was one of two drugs used in last month's execution of an Ohio inmate who made snorting and gasping sounds and took 26 minutes to die. His family is suing Ohio.

The company that manufactures midazolam opposes its use for capital punishment but has been unable to stop some state prison systems from obtaining it.

Virginia prison officials did not immediately respond to questions about their decision to approve the drug.