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Judge reserves decision on challenge of Montana's execution methods

CALGARY — A judge has reserved his decision on a constitutional challenge of Montana's execution methods that is likely to impact a Canadian on death row there.

Lawyers for two death-row inmates, including Ronald Smith of Red Deer, Alta., and the State of Montana provided conflicting evidence over whether a sedative called for under Montana's lethal injection protocols was an "ultra-fast-acting" barbituate.

Lawyers for the prisoners believe the use of the drug could lead to an "excruciating and terrifying" death.

Ron Waterman of the American Civil Liberties Union thinks the case went well and expects Judge Jeffrey Sherlock to release his decision by the end of the month.

Smith has been on death row in Montana since 1983 for the murders of two young men after he was bingeing on drugs and alcohol.

He originally requested he be executed, but later changed his mind and has been fighting to stay alive ever since.

The Canadian Press

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