Questions are being asked here and around the country about the first of two scheduled executions in Oklahoma Tuesday. The prisoner eventually died – but not the way the state intended.
Charles Warner’s execution is on hold after another inmate – Clayton Lockett – began convulsing after his first injection Tuesday. “I’ve been at this job for 22 years and this is the worst instance I’ve seen of the treatment of a human being,” said Richard Dieter, Death Penalty Info Center.
Lockett later died of a heart attack.
Oklahoma’s governor ordered an investigation. “The review will determine whether or not the Dept. of Corrections followed the current protocol for executions,” said Governor Mary Fallin, (R) Oklahoma.
Even the white house says something went wrong. “It must be carried out humanely. And I think everyone would recognize that this case fell short of that standard,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.
Both men had sued to find out what’s in the state’s lethal injection cocktail – and where those drugs came from.
After a key European manufacturer limited sales, Oklahoma and other states turned to largely unregulated compounding pharmacies. “What you are seeing is people who are not sophisticated in the area or purchasing chemicals that they know nothing about from people that they don’t know, protecting it from public scrutiny,” said Eric Lewis, Reprieve U.S.
Missouri’s governor says what happened in Oklahoma won’t stop his state’s scheduled execution later this month. “Folks can rest assured we take our responsibility extremely seriously,” said Governor Jay Nixon, (D) Missouri.
Those against the death penalty say it’s time to settle this with a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court.
The court would likely be asked to consider whether the combination of drugs used constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment.”