Daniel Wayne Cook Execution Delayed by State Supreme Court

The Arizona Supreme Court delayed a decision yesterday on whether to go forward with setting a date for the execution of convicted murderer Daniel Wayne Cook -- but not because of a controversial sedative used in the process, rather, the court is waiting to find out the status of a petition filed to reverse the death sentence.

As we noted yesterday, Cook's been sitting on death row -- on the taxpayer dime -- for 24 years.

The court was expected to rule yesterday on whether to move forward with the execution even though the state would be using a controversial sedative in the process that could potentially cause Cook a little pain before he bites the dust.

In November, the court refused to set an execution date for Cook because it was unclear how the state acquired the drug sodium thiopental, a sedative used to knock out the inmate before he's hit with a lethal dose of potassium chloride.

The supply of the drug has dwindled recently because its domestic manufacturer stopped producing it. For other recent executions, the state told the court it acquired the drug from an unnamed British company that wished to remain anonymous because it feared a backlash from anti-death-penalty groups.

Cook's lawyer claims that because the drug isn't manufactured in the U.S., its quality can't be guaranteed and the condemned may suffer some pain before dying.

There was no mention of the drug in the Associated Press' report on the delay, and court officials did not immediately get back to us this morning. Rather, the AP reports, the delay stems from the court's wanting to know the status of a petition to reverse the death sentence filed by Cook's attorneys.

Cook was convicted for the 1987 strangling death of two men in Lake Havasu City. He reportedly raped and tortured the men before murdering them.

The petition filed by Cook's lawyers says the death sentence should be overturned because Cook was recently diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and organic brain damage -- conditions, his lawyer says, that were only recently diagnosed because the court hadn't allowed an expert to testify at his sentencing.

Cook's attorney says her client was sexually, physically, and emotionally abused as a child -- all of which was known when he went to trial.

Attorneys in the case are required to update the court within 30 days, which means the court could revisit the matter as early as its next meeting on February 8.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
James King
Contact: James King

Latest Stories