Oklahoma Execution Botched and Prisoner Reportedly Dies Of Heart Attack After Writhing In Pain For Over 15 Minutes

535f51ba2e521.imageFor death penalty advocates, Oklahoma was featuring a type of macabre double header tonight: two executions to be held within hours of each other. That objective however failed in a most disturbing possible way after the first execution of Clayton Lockett left him in obvious agony for over 25 minutes. He eventually died from a heart attack and the second execution was postponed.

Witnesses reported that Lockett could be seen kicking and lifting his head on the gurney. After sixteen minutes, the prison officials closed the blinds and barred witnesses. Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton then called a halt to the execution and issued a 14-day stay for the execution of Charles Warner. Patton described the problem as a “vein failure”

530ef8188c4d6.preview-300Lockett was sentenced to death for killing a woman during a home invasion burglary in 1999 while Warner (right) was sentenced to death for raping and murdering an 11-month old girl in 1997.

Notably, the execution tonight used a new combination of drugs after a shortage in lethal injection drugs arose from an international campaign. They gave Lockett the sedative midazolam which was to be followed by the muscle relaxant vecuronium bromide to stop breathing and then potassium chloride to stop the heart.

The botched execution will only magnify concerns that there remain too many unknowns about lethal injection and that it constitutes a cruel punishment.

Notably, this incident comes a day after the release of a new report showing over four percent of death row inmates are likely innocent. The calculation of one in 25 death row being innocent in the study contradicts the earlier statistical data offered by Associate Justice Antonin Scalia in a concurring opinion in 2007 when he said that the error rate was 0.027 percent “or, to put it another way, a success rate of 99.973 percent.”

The execution and the study raise two of the main objections over the death penalty: that it is cruel and that the criminal justice system still produces false convictions. However, 55 percent of people polled reportedly still support the death penalty while a substantial percentage of 39 percent now opposes it. This is clearly going to be a debate that will continue to rage, particularly after the horrific scene tonight in Oklahoma.

Source: CNN

172 thoughts on “Oklahoma Execution Botched and Prisoner Reportedly Dies Of Heart Attack After Writhing In Pain For Over 15 Minutes”

  1. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/13/us/facing-challenge-to-execution-texas-calls-its-process-the-gold-standard.html?_r=0 “Texas’s death chamber is a well-honed machine,” said Robert Perkinson, the author of “Texas Tough: The Rise of America’s Prison Empire,” a critical history of the Texas prison system.

    David R. Dow, a law professor at the University of Houston who has represented more than 100 death row inmates during their appeals, explained the state’s record of seeming success simply. “When you do something a lot, you get good at it,” he said, adding archly, “I think Texas probably does it as well as Iran.” “

  2. Feynman,

    Don’t bite into the intellectual dishonesty. If you’ll see what’s happening, one is being a baiting bully. Just stand down.

  3. I don’t understand this need for “documentation” of one’s views. Is everybody “documenting” their views? Will we need to be deposed?

    1. Think the documentation is something Chuck started. Used some fancy Latin phrase to denigrate people who make sweeping statements and have nothing to back it up.

  4. There is a local progressive Madison shock jock called Sly. He has a HS education and is as vile as any conservative AM radio jock. He calls Ms. Rice, “Aunt Jemima.” He understands the Double Standard Protection ACT quite well. It doesn’t even require a HS diploma to understand that ACT.

  5. Anon,

    I agree with your assessment that it’s par for the course. Jonathan is busy, so stirring the pot til it brims is apt.

  6. the other anon Many disagreements have involve some uncivil remarks. Not much for faux civility, myself. Now bullying is another matter.

  7. “i don’t really consider the remark to be uncivil just par for the course.”

    I see it as both.

  8. SWM, Wi. Rep have made a few attempts to enact the death penalty but it never gets traction. That is one of the reasons I chuckle @ some people whining that Wi. is now a conservative stronghold. It is, like many states, bifurcated. VERY liberal cities and conservative rural areas. We are an urban/liberal, rural/conservative, w/ suburbs being the swing vote.

    1. SWM – there is some thought that those who are being executed are purposely making things worse in an effort to end the death penalty for others. In this case he stopped the execution of the other prisoner, at least temporarily.

      If I am my own worst enemy, should the state suffer for it. For example, I jump off a roof onto a public sidewalk killing myself. Should all sidewalks now be made of rubber to stop suicides from killing themselves? In this case it appears he caused his own veins to collapse thereby causing his own suffering. Should executions stop because he tried to game the system?

  9. Peanut Gallery Trolls, Quite civil. We all notice the trollery steps up when Jonathan is absent. Paul, we need to be Boy Scouts and let these trolls move on. SWM is not a troll and NEVER would be. I recognize her sincerity, I just see it as misguided. And, SWM has never played victim as evidenced by her honest assessment of my comment not being uncivil. I hope she NEVER LEAVES.

  10. Glad I live in a state now that does not have the death penalty. 🙂 Texas executes too many people including proven innocents.

  11. SWM, Please remember, I have explained my opposition to the death penalty here and many times previously. And, I checked the historical Gallup graph. But, I am intellectually honest the majority STILL are in favor. And, if the pro group shrinks to 40, 30%, do they not have a right on a FREE SPEECH blog to express their opinions?

  12. SWM – are you trying to make the point that the death penalty is torture?

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