UK & World News
Serial Killer Is Executed Amid Drug Debate
A serial killer who could have committed as many as 70 murders across the US has been put to death.
Tommy Lynn Sells' execution in Texas took place amid a growing debate over where the state gets its lethal injection drugs.
The 49-year-old was convicted of capital murder in 2000 for the death of Kaylene Harris and slashing of her 10-year-old friend, Krystal Surles, who survived and helped police find Sells.
The girls were attacked on New Year's Eve 1999 as they slept in the home of Kaylene's family in Del Rio, about 150 miles (240km) west of San Antonio.
The Harris family had befriended Sells at a community church.
Court records show Sells claimed to have committed as many as 70 killings across the US, including young girls.
In 2003, Sells was indicted but never tried for the slaying of 13-year-old Stephanie Mahaney in Missouri.
He also pleaded guilty to capital murder in the 1999 death of nine-year-old Mary Bea Perez, who was strangled during an outdoor festival in Texas.
Sells was the first inmate to be injected with a dose of newly replenished pentobarbital that Texas prison officials obtained to replace an expired supply of the powerful sedative.
He was pronounced dead at 6.27pm local time (12.27am UK Time), 13 minutes after being given the pentobarbital.
Sells' lawyers had sought more information from Texas authorities about the supplier of the new drug stock.
They argued they needed to know the name of the pharmacy in order to verify the drug's quality and protect Sells from unconstitutional pain and suffering.
State prison officials maintained the pharmacy must be kept secret to protect it from threats of violence.
The Supreme Court had declined to halt the execution.
Questions about the source of execution drugs have arisen in several states in recent months as numerous drug makers - particularly in Europe, where opposition to capital punishment is strongest - have refused to sell their products if they will be used in executions.
Some states have used untested new drug cocktails. In some cases this has led to accusations of cruelty as the inmates suffered for several minutes before dying.