Officials with the Idaho Department of Correction have spent the week readying the execution chamber at the Idaho State Maximum Security Institution, south of Boise, in preparation for Tuesday morning's scheduled execution of 53-year-old Richard Leavitt.
If all goes as planned, two syringes, each carrying 2.5 grams of pentobarbital, will be used to kill Leavitt, convicted of the July 1984 murder of 31-year-old Danette Elg in her Blackfoot home. Brent Reinke, director of the Idaho Department of Correction, told Citydesk that pentobarbital should bring a much quicker death to the condemned inmate.
"We've been tracking the same process in other states and it's almost 40 percent less time," said Reinke. "But the main reason we're using this process is the availability of the drug."
Two rehearsals of the execution took place at the prison over the weekend, involving escort and medical teams and prison command staff. This morning, a separate administrative team is ensuring that security, climate control, lighting and sound are functioning and that restraints in the execution chamber are appropriate.
At some point today, the maximum security institute warden will ensure that Leavitt's personal property is removed from his cell and inventoried. One religious item is allowed to remain.
This evening, the entire IDOC south Boise complex will go on secure status. Leavitt will be granted a last meal from items available in the prison's kitchen. All visitation and phone calls must be concluded by 9 p.m. If Leavitt chooses, a light snack will be offered through the evening, and no later than 6 a.m. on Tuesday will Leavitt be offered a mild sedative.
On June 8, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a ruling that said that select news organizations should have full viewing of the execution. Seventeen media outlets, including the Associated Press and the Idaho Press Club, had argued that reporters must accurately report the events and any possible complications to the public, and therefore must have access to the entire process. During the November 2011 execution of Paul Ezra Rhoades, reporters were not allowed to watch as Rhoades was escorted into the execution chamber, strapped to a table, and had IVs inserted into his arm.