'The clock is ticking': Utah prepares for first execution since 2010

Brian Redd, executive director of Utah's Department of Corrections, speaks about the upcoming execution of Taberon Dave Honie, whose execution warrant was signed Monday. He stands next to the department's communication director, Glen Mills.

Brian Redd, executive director of Utah's Department of Corrections, speaks about the upcoming execution of Taberon Dave Honie, whose execution warrant was signed Monday. He stands next to the department's communication director, Glen Mills. (Utah Department of Corrections, Zoom)


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DRAPER — "The clock is ticking."

Officials from Utah's Department of Corrections spoke Tuesday about the process for the execution of Taberon Dave Honie, scheduled just after midnight on Thursday, Aug. 8.

Although there could be circumstances delaying the execution, the department is preparing as if it will move forward and "the clock is ticking," according to Glen Mills, director of communications for the Utah Department of Corrections.

He said the execution will happen shortly after midnight, when the prison is already locked down.

There will be an area designated for protesters — both in favor of and against the death penalty — outside the prison, and approved individuals from the media who are cleared will be allowed to witness the execution.

Unlike the 2010 execution of Ronnie Lee Gardner, the most recent execution in Utah, the Utah Department of Corrections offices are no longer near the prison because the prison has moved. Mills said this will mean media witnessing the execution will be required to stay in the prison beginning Wednesday evening.

Brian Redd, executive director at the Utah Department of Corrections, thanked the media for its involvement, and said media witnesses are important.

"We see you as an important partner in this situation when it comes to transparency and accountability," he said, adding, the department has been preparing for an execution since 2023, when they learned some of the individuals on death row may have exhausted the appeals process.

In response to a question about specific drugs used for execution — which Honie's attorney called an "experimental cocktail" on Monday, Redd said the combination of three drugs (ketamine, fentanyl and potassium chloride) will be, at least, as effective as sodium thiopental, which is the drug named in the procedure. Utah law requires either sodium thiopental or an equally effective drug to be used for lethal injections.

Redd said doctors and pharmacists were involved in the choice of drugs.

Mills said the department is confident the drugs it intends to use meet guidelines and "will be effective and fast." He said the only changes that will need to be made to the department's execution policy are related to the prison's relocation, not the administration of the drugs.

Honie can still request a clemency hearing until seven days after his execution warrant was signed.

He was found guilty and sentenced in 1999 of brutally murdering his ex-girlfriend's mother Claudia Benn in front of her three grandchildren on July 9, 1998.

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Emily Ashcraft joined KSL.com as a reporter in 2021. She covers courts and legal affairs, as well as health, faith and religion news.

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