LINCOLN — Convicted murderer Carey Dean Moore was declared dead Tuesday after Nebraska carried out its first execution since 1997.
Moore, 60, also became the first condemned inmate put to death by lethal injection at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln. He served 38 years on death row for the 1979 killings of Omaha cabdrivers Reuel Van Ness and Maynard Helgeland.
Helgeland and Van Ness were shot five days apart as Moore coldly targeted cabdrivers because he knew they carried cash. Both men were 47 years old, fathers and military veterans.
Nebraska has now carried out 38 state-sanctioned executions. Moore was put to death using a previously untried four-drug combination of diazepam, fentanyl, cisatracurium and potassium chloride.
He is the first inmate executed using the drug fentanyl, a powerful narcotic painkiller that has contributed to the nation's epidemic of drug overdoses. He was put to death despite two federal lawsuits filed last week by drug companies seeking to keep their products from being used.
The state's last execution before Tuesday took place in 1997, when the electric chair was the method. Lethal injection was adopted in 2009 after the state Supreme Court outlawed electrocution as cruel and unusual punishment.
In 2015, the Nebraska Legislature repealed capital punishment over the veto of Gov. Pete Ricketts. Ricketts then helped fund the 2016 ballot initiative that reinstated the death penalty. Sixty-one percent of voters supported overturning the repeal.
The Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty is planning a rally at the State Capitol at 5 p.m. Organizer Ari Kohen said in a statement: "This costly, reckless and secretive process is incompatible with Nebraska values and it's important that Gov. Ricketts knows that his constituents don't want this execution to happen."
In July, the Supreme Court set what turned out to be the eighth and final execution date for Moore. His previous scheduled executions all were stayed for a variety of legal reasons.
No such stay came Tuesday. Moore didn't want one, telling family, friends and reporters he was tired of living so long on death row. A born-again Christian, Moore had said he sought and believed he had received God's forgiveness for his crimes.
Moore even tried to go to his execution without legal representation, a request refused by the Supreme Court.
David Moore of Lincoln, the condemned inmate’s twin, said Friday that Moore will be cremated, and a private funeral service will be held for family and friends.
With Moore's death, there are now 11 men on Nebraska's death row.