today's Pick
Executed man 'took nearly two hours to die'
Publish Date: Jul 24, 2014
Executed man 'took nearly two hours to die'
A lethal injection death chamber. (AFP/Getty Images)
  • mail
  • img
newvision

WASHINGTON - A death row inmate being executed in Arizona took nearly two hours to die, prison officials said Wednesday, in the latest controversy to hit America's lethal injection regime.

The attorney representing Joseph Wood, convicted in 1989 of the murders of his girlfriend and her father, said his client died an agonizing death after being injected with a cocktail of medications that were supposed to quietly snuff out his life.

"It took Joseph Wood two hours to die, and he gasped and struggled to breathe for about an hour and forty minutes," attorney Dale Baich said after the execution in the southwestern US state.

Wood finally died at 3:49 pm local time (2249 GMT) -- almost two hours after officials began injecting him with drugs that should have taken his life in a matter of minutes, prison officials said.

Baich said in a statement that Wood had been injected with a mixture of two drugs -- midazolam combined with hydromorphone -- an experimental cocktail that badly failed.

"Arizona appears to have joined several other states who have been responsible for an entirely preventable horror -- a bungled execution," the attorney wrote.

"The public should hold its officials responsible and demand to make this process more transparent."

Wood, 55, was sentenced to die for the 1989 shooting deaths of his 29-year-old former girlfriend Debbie Dietz and her father Gene, 55.

He had filed a court petition challenging his execution, in which he demanded to know more about the state's lethal injection method, the executioner's qualifications and the manufacturer of the lethal drugs.


In 2012 Virginia added a new lethal injection drug: Rocuronium Bromide. (AFP/Getty Images)

The Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals had placed a hold on Wood's execution, demanding more information from Arizona.

Wood's final legal recourse, the US Supreme Court, on Tuesday refused to hear his appeal, clearing the way for officials in Arizona proceed with his execution.

He is one of several inmates to resort to the courts to seek greater transparency about the method being used to put them to death, amid concern about the efficacy of the lethal drug protocol, especially following a recent botched execution in Oklahoma which saw an inmate appear to suffer before he died.

Oklahoma suspended its executions for six months after the April death of convicted killer and rapist Clayton Lockett by lethal injection -- a process that took 43 minutes, far more than the expected time of about 10 minutes.

The Death Penalty Information Center, in a statement on Tuesday, charged that the high court's decision "allows drug secrecy to continue."

Individual US states may choose whether they will implement the death penalty.

Those that carry out executions have relied increasingly on compounding pharmacies, which lack federal approval, since European drugmakers refused to provide products used to execute inmates.

Wednesday's execution was the 26th in the United States, and the first in Arizona since October.

AFP

Also related to this story

Inmate dies of heart attack in botched execution

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
Ruhakana Rugunda new Prime Minister
Reports from State House indicate that health minister Ruhakana Rugunda has been appointed Prime Minister of Uganda. He will replace Amama Mbabazi who has been the premier since after the 2011 general election....
No independence for Scotland: In pictures
Scotland has rejected independence in a referendum that leaves the UK intact. Take a look at what has been going on there....
UK intact as Scotland rejects independence
Scotland has rejected independence in a referendum that leaves the United Kingdom intact but opens the door to wider autonomy....
US man kills daughter, six grandchildren
A man killed his daughter and six grandchildren, the youngest just three months old, in a mass shooting at a house in Florida....
Miss Uganda contesting in Big Brother Africa
It has been confirmed that the current, reigning Miss Uganda, Stella Nantumbwe will represent the country in this year’s Big brother Africa reality show that starts next month....
Ivorians are raising awareness about the deadly disease outbreak in west Africa with a new "Lather Against Ebola" campaign....
Should bride price be made optional?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter