The Execution of Carey Dean Moore

Elizabeth Hahn, Staff Writer

History was made in terms of the death penalty on Tuesday, August 14th in Nebraska when Carey Dean Moore was executed in the first use of a certain lethal injection drug in the United States.

According to a CNN article titled “Death Penalty Fast Facts” from 2017, as early as 1834, executions were moved out of the public eye and used in correctional facilities. Throughout the years, some states abolished the penalty, but many states kept it. The first execution by electrocution happened in 1890. Cyanide gas and lethal injection are also used for death row executions, and the first lethal injection execution happened in 1982. Hanging was also a common type of punishment on death row until 1996. Many states have repealed the death penalty in the 2000s and 2010s, but a lot of those repeals changed in the 2016 election.

The United States held a vote in 2016 on if the death penalty should be restored or not. In Nebraska, this appeal got an overwhelming amount of votes to the death penalty being restored. The restoration nullified a vote in 2015 by lawmakers to repeal this type of punishment.

Nebraska governor, Pete Ricketts, tried to veto the 2015 repeal but was overpowered. He is supportive of the penalty. Nebraska wasn’t the only state to restore this capital punishment. Oklahoma, for example, restored it, but California got an overwhelming amount of votes for it to stay gone. Along with Oklahoma and Nebraska, 29 other states brought back this penalty. There are many different opinions of this issue.

According to an Omaha World Herald article from 2007, Carey Dean Moore was convicted of a double-murder of two cab drivers. The cab drivers’ names were Reuel Van Ness Jr. and Maynard Helgeland from Omaha, Nebraska. He has been on death row since he was convicted in 1979.

After all his years on death row, Moore’s time was up. According to an August 14th Washington Post article, this was the first execution in Nebraska in 21 years. He was served a “drug cocktail” consisting of four different drugs. The main ingredient was fentanyl. Abuse of fentanyl causes a state of euphoria, and if too much is ingested, it can cause fatalities.

This is the first time in United States history that fentanyl has been used to carry out a lethal injection execution. Moore died in 23 minutes at 10:47 a.m. after being drugged at 10:24 a.m.. This is the first time a lethal injection execution has been carried out in Nebraska. According to a CNN article last week, a family member of one of the victims was present for Moore’s death. Along with the family member, there were three outside witnesses, a member of the clergy, four journalists, and two members of the correctional staff.

This was a moment in United States history that could define the future. There’s no telling what could happen to the death penalty. Repeals and restorations are definitely possible. There are still many people on death row in Nebraska. The penalty will be used here right now and maybe even in the years to come.