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. Personanongrata:

    “In short Clayton Lockett being tortured to death for 2 minutes or 45 minutes is in no way justice.”


    A lot of people would disagree with that notion if you believe “justice” is giving every man his due punishment. By the way, the scientific cause of the failure of the lethal cocktail has not been established so far as I can determine; hence the autopsy. If it was an idiosyncratic reaction by Lockett’s body would you hold the State morally — if not legally — responsible?

  2. Another, Paul:

    ‘Death certificates of executed inmates may change
    Bill would list inmates’ deaths as ‘executions’ instead of ‘homicides’
    S.K. BARDWELL, Copyright 2001 Houston Chronicle | March 21, 2001
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    State trooper Mark A. Frederick was shot to death as he approached a car he had pulled over on Interstate 10 near Sealy on April 4, 1976.

    Frederick had been a trooper for five years, and had been married for five years. He and his wife, Jane, had a young daughter. He was 26.

    His death certificate cites the cause of death as “homicide.”

    At 25, Billy George Hughes already had an extensive criminal record. He had just committed a string of petty larcenies when Frederick pulled him over.

    Hughes was caught two days after Frederick was shot. He was convicted and finally executed last year after decades of delays.

    Hughes’ death certificate lists his cause of death as “homicide.”

    That is unacceptable to Pat Teer, Frederick’s mother, who appeared before lawmakers in Austin today to push a bill that would change the designation on the death certificates of executed Texas inmates from “homicide” to “legal execution.”

    “Who’s the murderer?” Teer asked. “If his death was a homicide the same as my son’s, who murdered him?”

    “Was it Mark, who pulled him over that day? Was it me, for trying over the years to get people to abide by the laws and execute him? Was it the Texas Rangers who hunted Hughes down and arrested him?

    “Or was it the prison personnel?”

    Teer said the designation on Hughes’ death certificate makes the convicted killer, “statistically a victim. And that’s wrong. My son was the victim. His (Hughes’) victim.”

    The Committee on Corrections’ decision today to send House Bill 1962 to the full House for consideration is a grim victory for Teer, who felt compelled to take action after discovering that the death certificates of her son and his killer cited the same cause of death.

    To push for a change in the law, Teer enlisted the aid of Andy Kahan, director of the Houston Victims Assistance Center, and groups like Parents of Murdered Children and Justice For All. State Rep. Lois Kolkhorst , R-Brenham, agreed to sponsor the legislation, House Bill 1962.

    Only a handful of states designate the deaths of executed inmates homicides, Kahan said today. Most carry designations denoting the death was a result of an execution.

  3. Paul, not being especially ‘tech savvy’, I’m not quite sure how to ’embed’. However if you go to thepoliticalenvironment.blogspot.com/…/death-certificates-for-executed-.you’ll have your answer…‎

    1. kraaken – again thanks for the info. I have no idea how to embed either. 🙂 I can barely type.

  4. jonathanturley.org/2014/04/30/oklahoma-execution-botched-and-prisoner-reportedly-dies-of-heart-attack-after-writhing-in-pain-for-over-15-minutes/#comment-1065033


    And how does “karma” factor into this equation? (Refer to linked material.)

    “Nick Brady, Little Falls teen killed by Byron Smith, linked to two burglaries at Smith’s home”


  5. jonathanturley.org/2014/04/30/oklahoma-execution-botched-and-prisoner-reportedly-dies-of-heart-attack-after-writhing-in-pain-for-over-15-minutes/#comment-1065033


    And how does “karma factor” into this equation?

    “Nick Brady, Little Falls teen killed by Byron Smith, linked to two burglaries at Smith’s home”


  6. mespo727272 on 1, May 1, 2014 at 11:44 am

    That his death took 45 minutes instead of the usual two minutes is of little concern to me. Call me old-fashioned.

    I too agree that the cretinous turd stain known as Clayton Lockett committed an egregiously barbarous act and should have been punished by spending the rest of his life locked in a cage.

    When a society, supposedly governed by law, lowers itself to the putrid depths of depravity inflicted upon the innocent by criminal fractions of human beings, like Mr. Lockett, it loses any moral authority it may have once claimed.

    In short Clayton Lockett being tortured to death for 2 minutes or 45 minutes is in no way justice.

    The shameful execution/torture of Clayton Lockett was used as a political platform for Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin.

    1. personanongrata – if I read you correctly you are willing to torture the murderer by locking him in a cage, but you are upset because he accidentally suffered more than he was expected to?

  7. JT:

    The guillotine was actually invented by Antoine Lewis who designed his machine called a louisette. Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin actually opposed the death penalty and petitioned the French government to take his name of the contraption. When they wouldn’t he changed his name.

  8. Personanongrata:

    “Barbarism is alive and well, for all the world to see, in the not so great state of Oklahoma.”


    Agreed. And it resides exclusively in the psyche of Mr. Lockett who lured, raped, and murdered his nineteen-year-old victim by shooting her twice and then burying her alive when he knew she was still breathing. That’s precisely what a jury of Oklahomans concluded and that verdict was a confirmed by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

    Here’s a little capsule of the facts of the crime which occurred during a random home invasion after our perp got out of prison on another offense:

    Lockett later told police “he decided to kill Stephanie because she would not agree to keep quiet,” court records state.

    Neiman was forced to watch as Lockett’s accomplice, Shawn Mathis, spent 20 minutes digging a shallow grave in a ditch beside the road. Her friends saw Neiman standing in the ditch and heard a single shot.
    Lockett returned to the truck because the gun had jammed. He later said he could hear Neiman pleading, “Oh God, please, please” as he fixed the shotgun.

    The men could be heard “laughing about how tough Stephanie was” before Lockett shot Neiman a second time.

    “He ordered Mathis to bury her, despite the fact that Mathis informed him Stephanie was still alive.”

    That his death took 45 minutes instead of the usual two minutes is of little concern to me. Call me old-fashioned.

  9. anon:

    “And when terrible things happen to good people? Is that “karma”, as well?”


    Nope. Karma means action or work as a consequence of intent. It’s also a principle of causality where the intent and actions of an individual influence the future of that individual.

    When bad things happen to good people without any bad acts on their part that’s not karma; that’s mere bad fortune.

  10. Barbarism is alive and well, for all the world to see, in the not so great state of Oklahoma.

    So much for the faux Christian values espoused by the depraved fraction of a human being serving as Oklahoma’s governor the executioner in chief Mary Fallin.

    Additionally the collection of spineless turds known as the Oklahoma Supreme Court abdicated their oaths of office and refused to challenge the executioner in chief Mary Fallin’s claim that she alone had the final word in executing, with unknown/unproven methods, a condemned killer based upon her specious claims of authority alone.

    Sure reads to be cruel and unusual punishment to me.

    We (the US) are truly a beacon of light unto the world, how very exceptional.

    1. personanongrata – you forget that the symbol of Christianity died from capital punishment, likely very cruelly. Christians were also the particular object of the death penalty as they were martyred, again cruelly It is not like Christians are unaware of the death penalty. .

  11. “I call it karma.” -mespo727272

    And when terrible things happen to good people? Is that “karma”, as well?

  12. If exicution is cruel and unusual punisment, as some claim….. Those same people say we should lock them up for life because it as far worse punisment. Than i say we did him a favor.

  13. Sorry………no sympathy on this one. I bet he didnt suffer as much as the woman that he raped and burried alive. Tough luck scumbag.

  14. Jason brings up a very good point, regarding “messiness” versus “cruelty”. If you look at the modern history of capital punishment (hanging, firing squad, electrocution, gas chamber, lethal injection) what you see is not a progression toward a more quick and painless death, but a progression towards a death that is less messy and unpleasant for the *spectators*.

    I wish we’d just come out and admit as a society that we don’t really care how slow and painful the execution method is, we just want to feel civilized while we watch it. The ultimate in foolproof, instantaneous, painless death would be a charge of high-explosive strapped to the head, but we’d never actually see such a thing implemented because it’d be spectacularly gory.

    1. AJ – maybe we should adopt the Chinese method, put them in the middle of a filled stadium on their knees and then shot them in the back of the head.

  15. George:

    The only absurdity in any debate concerning the death penalty is the inevitable presence of those who regard the topic itself as frivolous.

  16. This is an absurd debate. You bleeding hearts are on the verge of declaring death by “resurrection” inhumane. If the frog jumps halfway every time, he will never get to the log. There is no credibility here. The law has a duty.

  17. From Democracy Now and an interview with one of the observers:


    From the OK oversight:

    ROBERT PATTON: As those that were inside witnessed, it was determined that he was sedated at approximately seven minutes into the execution. At that time, we began pushing the second and third drugs in the protocol. There was some concern at that time that the drugs were not having the effect, so the doctor observed the line and determined that the line had blown. After conferring with the warden, and unknown how much drugs had went into him, it was my decision at that time to stop the execution. I notified the attorney general’s office, the governor’s office of my intent to stop the execution, and requested a stay for 14 days for the second execution scheduled this afternoon. At approximately 7:06 hours, inmate suffered what appears to be a massive heart attack and passed away.


    ZIVA BRANSTETTER So what happened is, at 6:23, the execution began. The inmate had no last words. About 10 minutes later, they pronounced him unconscious. There was no reaction for about three minutes. And then, at about—about, you know, I would say three minutes after that, he began a very violent reaction. He began writhing, lifting his shoulders up off the gurney and his head up off the gurney. He was clenching his jaw, exhaling. He was mumbling phrases that none of us could really hear. The only audible word we could hear was him saying “man.” And he appeared to be in pain, but we couldn’t understand what he was saying. This lasted for about three minutes. The physician in the execution chamber went over, lifted up the sheet, looked at his right arm. The warden of the Oklahoma State Penitentiary, who was also in the execution chamber, said that they were going to have to temporarily close the blinds. And after that, they never reopened them.

    Here’s your humane death penalty…..

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