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updated: 10/6/2017 9:04 AM

Indiana court weighs challenge to execution drug selection

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INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Supreme Court is considering whether state prison officials can change execution drugs without going through a public review.

The justices heard arguments Thursday in the challenge by death row inmate Roy Lee Ward, who was convicted in the 2001 rape and murder of 15-year-old Stacy Payne in southern Indiana's Spencer County.

The state appeals court ruled in June that the Department of Correction didn't follow proper procedures in selecting a new three-drug combination in 2014.

Ward's attorney, David Frank, argues such decisions should be subject to public oversight.

Deputy Attorney General Stephen Creason says state law doesn't require the rulemaking process and would unduly delay executions.

Indiana has 12 death row inmates but no executions are currently scheduled.

The court didn't say when it would issue a ruling.

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