Four days before Georgia is to execute a Savannah man in the murder of a 78-year-old woman, a human rights group is asking the state to revoke the license of a doctor who sometimes participates in lethal injections.
Roy Blankenship is scheduled to die by lethal injection Thursday for the 1978 murder of Sarah Mims Bowen, who was beaten to death. She was found in the bedroom in her house just a block away from where Blankenship lived. Police followed bloody footprints to Blankenship's house.
On Monday, the Southern Center for Human Rights filed a complaint with the Georgia Composite Medical Board alleging that Dr. Carlo Anthony Musso illegally helped Kentucky and Tennessee secure a scarce sedative used in a three-drug cocktail for executions, sodium thiopental. The only U.S.-based manufacturer of the sedative announced in January that it was no longer making the drug.
The group said in its filing that Musso, who owns CorrectHealth and Rainbow Medical Associates, secured some of the drug and then sold it to at least two other states even though he was not registered with the Georgia Board of Pharmacy or the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to ship sodium thiopental across state lines.
“Dr. Musso violated a host of state and federal criminal laws,” the Southern Center for Human Rights wrote.
Musso, who could not be reached Monday, has denied selling drugs to Kentucky or Tennessee.
The filing says Musso secured the drug from a company in London at the same time Georgia went to the same source: Dream Pharma, which operated out of the back of a driving school. The DEA subsequently seized the drugs that the Georgia Department of Corrections had bought from Dream Pharma because the department was not registered to buy the sedative from the manufacturer or to ship it to the United States.
At the same time that the Southern Center for Human Rights was trying to block Musso or any doctors associated with his business from participating in any executions, Blankenship’s lawyer filed an appeal in Fulton Superior Court. Judge Wendy Shoob has scheduled a hearing for Tuesday.
Blankenship could be the first inmate in Georgia executed with a new three-drug combination that swapped sodium thiopental for pentobarbital.