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. What about the people who were the sheriffs of this blog and stomped out dissent w/ bullying tactics. Lord knows myself, Byron, idealist and many others were under constant assault. The bullies are now gone and all types of new voices are here. That’s a good thing if you’re a free thinker, as Jonathan is, not the ideologue you projected on him.

  2. the other anon… i don’t really consider the remark to be uncivil just par for the course.

  3. Nick wrote to swarthmore mom: “Not the echo chamber you and some others dearly loved. ”

    Enter the good professor? Civility, anyone?

    1. SWM – You will note that it is still a majority that favor the death penalty.

  4. swarthmoremom said:

    ap, Amazing that there are those that advocate for the torture of american prisoners.

    Isn’t it.


    swarthmoremom said:

    Not lamenting anything… Just stating the fact the the professor gained many of his blog followers due to his very strong and admirable anti-torture beliefs.


  5. Not lamenting anything… Just stating the fact the the professor gained many of his blog followers due to his very strong and admirable anti-torture beliefs.

  6. I mean in the past anyone who expressed opposing views and were pro death penalty or torture were run outta here by bullies.

  7. SWM – would you like to point out who advocates the torture of American prisoners?

    BTW, I think the UN should be moved to Europe or Africa and we should disassociate ourselves financially from it.

  8. At one time the dominant theme of this blog was anti-torture, ap.

  9. ap, Amazing that there are those that advocate for the torture of american prisoners.

    1. SWM – some people bring it on themselves. In this case, by refusing fluids, he collapsed his veins causing his own problems.

  10. http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=14556&LangID=E

    U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights:

    “The suffering of Clayton Lockett during his execution in Oklahoma on Tuesday 29th April, may amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment according to international human rights law. It also appears to run counter to the 8 th Amendment of the United States Constitution, which states that “…nor cruel and unusual punishment [shall be] inflicted.” We note that the execution of a second man in Oklahoma, scheduled later on Tuesday, was stayed by the Governor, who has ordered a review of execution procedures and protocols.

    The prolonged death of Clayton Lockett is the second case of apparent extreme suffering caused by malfunctioning lethal injections reported in 2014 in the United States. The other case was that of Dennis McGuire, executed by the State of Ohio on 16 January 2014 with an allegedly untested combination of drugs.

    The UN Human Rights Committee and the Committee against Torture have both previously called on the United States to review its execution methods in order to prevent severe pain and suffering. Most recently, in March 2014, the Human Rights Committee recommended the US ensure that lethal drugs used for executions originate from legal, regulated sources, and are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

    The apparent cruelty involved in these recent executions simply reinforces the argument that authorities across the United States should impose an immediate moratorium on the use of the death penalty and work for abolition of this cruel and inhuman practice. Thirty-two out of 50 states in the US still have the death penalty in their laws (in addition to the US government and the US military). Eighteen states in the US have abolished the death penalty, most recently Maryland in 2013 and Connecticut in 2012.

    The UN opposes the use of the death penalty in all circumstances.”


  11. Did I read that they tazed the guy right before the execution?

    1. Keebler – they tazed him to get him out of his cell and the problem with his veins was probably because he hadn’t been taking enough fluids lately.

  12. mespo727272 wrote:

    “Lockett buried his victim alive. Some call it a botched execution. I call it karma.”

    And some people might not really understand the concept of “karma” — if such a thing even exits, but like to use it when it suits a particular need.

  13. bettykath, They had to tazer the guy to get him out of his cell.

  14. It seems they had trouble finding a vein for the needle. They tried arms, hands and legs before they settled on the groin. Even so the vein “blew”. He was probably severely dehydrated.

  15. karma in action. How long did their victims suffer before they died? Yes the death penalty should be rare and done consistently threw out the state. Unless you make it so rich or poor you get the same lawyers, Blindfolded jury and judges. the rich will always afford a better lawyer and there for a better deal for them.

  16. nick:

    “mespo, You’re a tough dude.”


    Not sure how you can treat rapists and murderers any other way.

  17. Great, change the law because some people don’t know that “homicide” and “murder” aren’t the same thing.

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