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Botched Oklahoma execution leaves lethal injection in question

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Botched Oklahoma execution leaves lethal injection in question

By Julianne Cassidy. CREATED Apr 30, 2014

The state of Oklahoma is investigating a botched execution after inmate Clayton Lockett, 38, died of a massive heart attack 40 minutes after a doctor halted his procedure on Tuesday. Thirteen minutes after receiving what was to have been a lethal injection, Lockett was alive and showing signs of extreme distress.

According to Reuters, state corrections department spokesman Jerry Massi says, "We believe that a vein was blown and the drugs weren't working as they were designed to. The director ordered a halt to the execution," reports The Huffington Post.

"This might lead to a halt in executions until states can prove they can do it without problems. Someone was killed tonight by incompetence," Richard Dieter, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, told The Huffington Post

Witnesses viewed Lockett convulsing in pain and mumbling, thus prompting the state to close the curtains of the execution chamber.  "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 be used," further reports the Huffington Post. The ban was lifted last week by the state of Oklahoma.

Charles Warner, 46, was scheduled to be put to death two hours after Lockett. His execution has now been stalled for 14 days while Lockett's gruesome death, which may now call into question the definition of "cruel and unusual punishment," is reviewed.


Julianne Cassidy

Julianne Cassidy

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A city girl gone country, Philadelphia-bred journalist Julianne Cassidy relocated to be a Nashville-based digital editor for Scripps Media, Inc.