BOISE When Keith Eugene Wells dies l
ate tonight for the 1990 beating deaths of two people, it will be the fi
rst time Idaho has used lethal injection to carry out an execution.
The nine previous killers executed by the state in this century were all hanged, the last in October 1957.
But Wells' execution will take place at 11:01 p.m. PST tonight (12:01 a.m. Thursday MST) in a stark-white, single-wide mobile home sitting in an unused yard at the Maximum Security Prison south of Boise.
Shortly before the execution, Wells will be taken inside the wood-paneled trailer and strapped onto what looks like a padded table in a doctor's office. An intravenous line will run from his arm through a hole in a wall behind his head to a room where the injection team will be located.
Then with as many as 21 witnesses watching through a glass window, Wells will be administered three drugs. The first, sodium pentothal, is a normal anesthetic. The second is pavulon, a curare preparation to stop muscle spasms as the anesthetic takes effect.
And finally p
otassium chloride will be administered. It is the lethal agent that will stop Wells heart.
Once the injection team has completed its task, it will be up to the coroner to announce Wells' death.
has dropped all his appeals and demanded to be executed for the two murders he has confessed to.
But anti-death penalty forces were still trying to block the execution, and Corrections Director Jim Spaulding has said a stay can be accommodated all the way up until the scheduled execution time.
Meanwhile, Wells visited with his wife and family for several hours Tuesday.
Under a court order issued early in the day, Wells' wife, Cindy, visited with her husband Tuesday morning for about two hours at the prison.
Wells, 31, was fully restrained during the visit ''for the protection of Cindy Wells,'' the order said. At one point while on parole, Wells held his then-pregnant wife and stepson hostage with an explosive. And at another point during his imprisonment he grabbed his wife around the throat while she was visiting him.
Officials said Cindy Wells would have her final two-hour visit this afternoon.
Wells, who has spent nearly all his adult life behind bars, finally admitted last month that he beat to death John Justad, 23, and Brandi Rains, 20, during an u
nprovoked attack at Boise's Rose Pub tavern on Dec. 20, 1990. He described himself as a ''predator on the prowl for prey.''
Despite what they admit is overwhelming public support for capital punishment, death penalty critics continued protesting the planned execution. And a former warden at the main state p
rison, who came within 11 days of carrying out an e
xecution in 1984, was critical of death penalty proponents forgetting the people who actually carry out the sentence.
''We've got a lot of armchair quarterbacks out there with all kinds of ideas but
unless you have to pull the switch, you don't know what it's all about and never will,'' said Darrol Gardner, who retired as warden two months after his near brush with an execution.