Unused dose of lethal Oklahoma drugs to be tested

Investigation into inmate's death could halt state executions for months
Associated Press
May 2, 2014

 

Samples of the same drugs used in a botched execution that was stopped after the inmate convulsed and tried to lift his head will be tested as part of an investigation into his death, a probe that could result in Oklahoma executions being halted for months, officials said Friday.

Oklahoma's attorney general's office said the Department of Corrections saved syringes of the lethal drugs set aside for a second execution had been set to follow Clayton Lockett's. The second execution was put on hold for at least two weeks after Lockett's went awry Tuesday night.

President Barack Obama on Friday called the incident "deeply troubling" and said he's asked his attorney general for a review of the death penalty's application.

Lockett died 43 minutes after his execution began of an apparent heart attack as Oklahoma used a new drug combination for the first time in the state.

Officials said Friday the autopsy report on Lockett will take two to three months to complete. Department of Public Safety spokesman Capt. George Brown said the autopsy, being performed in Dallas, is expected to be finished in eight to 12 weeks. Lockett's body arrived in Dallas about 12:30 a.m. Thursday.

Gov. Mary Fallin had called on Wednesday for an investigation of Lockett's execution to be conducted by the state's Department of Public Safety. She has issued a stay until May 13 for Warner's execution, but said Thursday she was willing to issue a 60-day stay for Warner, the longest allowed under state law, if needed to complete the inquiry.

If 60 days is not adequate, Oklahoma's attorney general has said he would request an additional stay from the courts to ensure no executions are carried out until the review is complete.

The drugs intended for Warner were never used. Assistant Attorney General Kindanne Jones said in a letter Friday that attorneys for Lockett and Warner may have access to the drugs if any are left over after the state's analysis is complete.

Before Lockett's execution, the state had refused to provide the source of the execution drugs, citing state law that allows such details to remain confidential.

"The Attorney General will take this step to assure that the state continues its efforts to remain as transparent as legally and practically possible, in light of the law and very real challenges Oklahoma faces in assuring that all lawful sentences, including the death penalty, are carried out," Jones wrote.

The syringes intended for Warner's execution Tuesday night are from the same manufacturers as the drugs used in Lockett's execution, the state said Friday. The drugs were purchased at the same time and have the same expiration date.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton had detailed Lockett's last day of life in a report issued Thursday. The report said Lockett had self-inflicted wounds on his arm, and the execution team was unable to find suitable veins in his arms, legs and neck. An IV was inserted into Lockett's groin area and the execution began.

A spokesman for the United Nations human rights office in Geneva said Lockett's prolonged execution could amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment under international human rights law. Rupert Colville said Lockett's was the second problematic execution in the U.S. this year after Dennis McGuire's death in Ohio on Jan. 16 with an allegedly untested combination of drugs.

"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," Colville told reporters Friday.

Comments

bondgirlM

Ok I have a couple of points and questions here. How does one"test" the medication in a dose of legal injection? How about on the next murderer convicted and sentenced to death? Why does President Obama think this is "deeply troubling"? Is it because this man "could look like his son of he had one"? Did President Obama tell the family of the murdered girl, that this human excrement who almost killed their daughter then watched as his buddies buried her alive, that he found what was done to her much more "deeply troubling"? Sorry no sympathy for this murderer at all. And oh by the way the sentence was successfully carried out therefore it was a successful execution not a botched one. The only thing that was botched is he didn't die the way they planned, but he did die.

Darwin's choice

^^ Agree ^^

YoMamma

You know its kinda funny that a vet can put down an animal for a few dollars and a single shot. Yet we need to spend millions to do the same??? Obama is mad because in Chicago they just call in a gang hit.

Jaqdup

Who cares?? Why waste time and money investigating it. They are saying his prolonged execution could amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment under international human rights law? What about the girl he murdered? I wouldn't call that very humane!! As far as I am concerned, he didn't suffer enough!!!