today's Pick
Inmate dies of heart attack in botched execution
Publish Date: Apr 30, 2014
Inmate dies of heart attack in botched execution
Clayton Lockett (L) died of a heart attack during the botched exection. His fellow inmate, Charles Warner (R), had his execution delayed after the incident. CREDIT/AFP (Source: Oklahoma Dept of Corrections)
  • mail
  • img
newvision

WASHINGTON - A US inmate died of a heart attack Tuesday more than 40 minutes after his execution was halted due to a botched lethal injection, triggering claims of torture.

The tragic end to the life of Clayton Lockett, a convicted murderer and rapist, caused Oklahoma to postpone the execution of a second inmate.

Lockett was administered a new, untested three-drug protocol in what would have been the central state's first double execution in 80 years.

But Oklahoma Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton ordered the execution of Lockett stopped about three or four minutes after the start of the injection at 6:23 pm (2323 GMT), citing a "vein failure," a prisons spokesman said.

Lockett died of a "massive heart attack" at 7:06 pm after receiving all three drugs, spokesman Jerry Massie said.

Even though he was administered the injection, "the drugs didn't go into the system," the spokesman added.

The drugs included a sedative, an anesthetic and a lethal dose of potassium chloride.

Patton then immediately ordered a 14-day delay to the execution of Charles Warner, who had been set to be executed two hours later than Lockett.

"About 13 minutes into the execution, after he had been declared unconscious, the inmate began writhing in pain. His body was sort of bucking. He was clenching his jaw," Tulsa World editor Ziva Branstetter told MSNBC television.

"Several times he mumbled phrases that were unintelligible. Only word we could make out was: 'Man!' He seemed to be in a lot of pain.

"Several times he rose, his head and shoulders rose up off the gurney as if he was trying to get off the gurney."

Shortly thereafter, the prison warden closed the blinds, preventing reporters from witnessing what was going on in the execution chamber, Branstetter said.

Lockett 'tortured'

"After weeks of Oklahoma refusing to disclose basic information about the drugs for tonight's lethal injection procedures, tonight, Clayton Lockett was tortured to death," Warner's lawyer Madeline Cohen said in a statement.

She called for an independent investigation and autopsy to learn what went wrong.

"The state must disclose complete information about the drugs, including their purity, efficacy, source and the results of any testing," Cohen added.

"Until much more is known about tonight's failed experiment of an execution, no execution can be permitted in Oklahoma."

The state had previously postponed the two executions in March because of a shortage of lethal injection drugs.

But the state managed to get supplies, while changing the execution protocol, and the two inmates exhausted their appeals.

Lockett was convicted in 2000 for the rape and murder of a young woman he kidnapped, beat and buried alive.

Warner was convicted for the 1997 rape and murder of an 11-month-old girl.

Cohen had argued against the new injection combination, saying the "experimental new drug protocol, including a paralytic," would make "it impossible to know whether the executions will comport with the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual suffering."

"Despite repeated requests by counsel, the state has refused, again and again, to provide information about the source, purity, testing and efficacy of the drugs to be used. It's not even known whether the drugs were purchased legally," she said.

Both Lockett and Warner had argued they had the constitutional right to know the composition and origin of any drugs used in the lethal injection.

In a judicial twist, Oklahoma's supreme court had first suspended the executions in order to resolve the controversy, but then two days later reversed itself, saying the men had no more right to information on drugs than they would for the electric chair.

Since European manufacturers began refusing to sell the most commonly used anesthetic -- pentobarbital -- for human executions, several US states have found themselves confronted with shortages, and are now seeking an alternative, which has led to an increase in court cases over the issue.

The last time two inmates were executed on the same night in Oklahoma was in 1937.

AFP

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
As the rest of Ugandans braced themselves for the harsh realities brought by new taxes in the new financial year, women in Abim district in north eastern Uganda were adjusting to the realitiy that there would be no alcoholic beverages in their menu for six months....
S.Sudan warring forces trade blame over UN chopper crash
WARRING forces in South Sudan traded blame Wednesday for the crash of a UN helicopter in which three crew died...
Ugandan elected to UN human rights committee
A Ugandan diplomat, Ambassador Duncan Muhumuza Laki, has been elected to the United Nations Human Rights Committee...
Kadaga defends broke MPs
SPEAKER, Rebecca Kadaga, has taken exception to the negative media blitz legislators in the ninth parliament have endured lately over their levels of indebtedness...
Study finds genetics play role in hangovers
HERE''S one more thing you can blame your parents for: scientists in Australian have discovered evidence suggesting hangovers are genetic...
UN cargo helicopter crashes in South Sudan warzone: UN
A UN cargo helicopter crashed Tuesday in South Sudan's war zone region of Unity state, the UN peacekeeping mission said, adding it was "deeply concerned about the fate of the crew...
Do you think the National Census positively contributes to improved Livelihood in Uganda?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter