by Logan Finney, Idaho Reports
The Idaho Department of Correction announced that it served Gerald Pizzuto, Jr. with a death warrant Wednesday at 1:05 PM.
Pizzuto has been on Idaho’s death row for over 35 years for two murders in Idaho County. His execution is scheduled Dec. 15, 2022.
An IDOC press release says that Director Josh Tewalt has informed state officials that the department is working to “lawfully source chemicals” needed to carry out lethal injection, but does not possess them currently.
Tewalt has also suspended the department’s execution procedures “except for those portions that ensure Mr. Pizzuto’s due process rights are protected, until such time as he anticipates a change in the material ability to carry out an execution.”
Idaho passed a law in 2022 granting anonymity to any manufacturer or supplier that supplied such chemicals to the state. The Department of Correction previously said that it has been unable to obtain lethal injection chemicals due to publicity concerns from suppliers.
The warrant was filed in Idaho County District Court at 10:18 AM and issued by Judge Jay Gaskill.
Pizzuto’s defense, the Capital Habeas Unit of the Federal Defender Services of Idaho, criticized the state in a Wednesday press release for scheduling the execution between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. The release also said his attorneys plan to seek a stay of the execution due to pending federal court challenges.
“The state is trying to execute Mr. Pizzuto as quickly as possible,” Supervising Attorney Deborah Czuba said. “The Governor can still accept the recommendation of his Commission and spare Mr. Pizzuto, the public and especially the prison staff a needless execution.”
See the death warrant and full press releases below.
IDOC serves death warrant to Gerald Pizzuto
Nov. 16 — The Idaho Department of Correction served Idaho Maximum Security Institution resident Gerald R Pizzuto, IDOC #23721, with a death warrant at 1:05 p.m. Wednesday. Second Judicial District Judge Jay P. Gaskill issued the warrant Wednesday morning. The warrant schedules Mr. Pizzuto’s execution for Dec. 15, 2022.
IDOC Director Josh Tewalt has informed the Board of Correction, the Governor’s Office, and the Attorney General’s Office that the Department is not in possession of the chemicals necessary to carry out an execution by lethal injection. Efforts to lawfully source chemicals are ongoing.
Director Tewalt has suspended implementation of SOP 135.02.01.001, Execution Procedures, except for those portions that ensure Mr. Pizzuto’s due process rights are protected, until such time as he anticipates a change in the material ability to carry out an execution. IDOC has developed and will implement a housing plan and other procedures for Mr. Pizzuto consistent with Idaho Code.
Due to ongoing litigation, IDOC will have no further comment on the matter at this time.
Ruth Brown and Melissa Davlin contributed to this report.