On Tuesday night, the execution of Clayton Lockett when horribly wrong after an experimental cocktail was used to put the man to death.
Oklahoma Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton said that Lockett had already been injected with a sedative and then two killing drugs but the drugs did not seem to be working.
“There was some concern at that time that the drugs were not having the effect, so the doctor observed the line and determined that the line had blown,” Patton explained, later clarifying what he meant was that the condemned vein had “exploded.”
AP also reported that Lockett was awake during at least part of the time and began “breathing heavily, writhing on the gurney, clenching his teeth and straining to lift his head off the pillow,” just minutes after being declared unconscious.
Patton said after conferring with doctor he called the attorney general and the governor’s office and notified them of my “intent to stop the execution and requested a stay for 14 days for the second execution scheduled this afternoon.”
Then, an hour later, when Lockett was still in the execution chamber and unconscious, he appeared to suffer from a heart attack and die.
Lockett had been sentenced to death for a number of violent crimes including shooting a 18-year-old girl and watching others bury her alive. Due to a shortage of the pentobarbital, he was executed using a supposedly lethal cocktail of drugs that the Oklahoma Department of Corrections said included a drug to sedate him, one to stop his heart, and a final one to stop his breathing.
After the botched execution, Governor Mary Fallin said in a statement that she intended to not carry out a second execution scheduled for the same day. “I have issued an executive order delaying the execution of Charles Frederick Warner for 14 days to allow for that review to be completed.”
Madeline Cohen, the lawyer for Warner, said she was glad the stay of execution was granted for her client but said something must be done to change the way executions are carried out in the state.
“Something went horribly awry,” Cohen told CNN on late Tuesday, referring to the botched execution of Lockett. “Oklahoma cannot carry out further executions until there’s transparency in this process,” echoing a nationwide debate surrounding the secrecy of execution methods and drugs used in the execution chamber.
Photo Credit: DOC File Photo/Lockett