Botched Oklahoma execution: witnesses describe how inmate ‘appeared to be in distress’








According to the Telegraph, the US state of Oklahoma halted the execution of Clayton Lockett, due to problems with its lethal injection, but the inmate later died of an apparent heart attack after the drugs started to flow into his body.

The execution had been put on hold for several weeks due to a legal fight over a new cocktail of chemicals for the lethal injection, with lawyers arguing the state was withholding crucial information about the drugs to used.
Lockett, 38, was declared unconscious 10 minutes after the first of the state’s new three drug lethal injection combination was administrated. Three minutes later, he began breathing heavily, writhing, clenching his teeth and straining to lift his head off the pillow.
A witness said Clayton Lockett thrashed about and tried to talk after the drugs were administered. Ziva Branstetter added: “His body was sort of bucking. He was clenching his jaw. Several times he mumbled phrases that were largely unintelligible.”
The blinds were eventually lowered to prevent those in the viewing gallery from watching what was happening in the death chamber.
Attorneys for death row inmates have argued that the drugs used in Oklahoma and other states could cause unnecessarily painful deaths, which would amount to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the US Constitution.
The execution of a second prisoner, Charles Warner, who was due to be put to death two hours after Lockett was postponed while a review into the drugs used is held. A lawyer said Lockett had effectively been “tortured to death”. It comes after Ohio said it is to increase its dosage of death-penalty drugs after murderer Dennis McGuire, 53, gasped for up to 26 minutes before he died from an injection in January.










Read more here:

Oklahoma inmate dies after execution is botched

Convict writhed in pain and tried to talk during botched prison execution

 Botched execution could slam brakes on death penalty

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The Wits Justice Project combines journalism, advocacy, law and education to make the criminal justice system work better for all.

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