Two-hour execution review underway, all Ariz. executions on hold

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Two-hour execution review underway, all Ariz. executions on hold

By Cory Marshall. CREATED Jul 24, 2014

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - There will be no executions in Arizona until a full review of the July 23 execution of Joseph Wood is complete. Thursday, Arizona Department of Corrections director Charles Ryan slammed allegations the almost two-hour execution was "botched."

Media witnesses to the execution say after Wood received the lethal injection he became sedated and minutes later began gasping for air. The gasping, they say, lasted for two-hours.

The ADC says review evidence, so far, shows nothing went wrong, citing the Pima County Medical Examiner's physical autopsy report which concludes the IV was "perfectly placed." Following Wood's execution, the surviving family of Debra and Eugene Dietz, Wood's victims, rejected any idea their sister and father's killer suffered  and sided with the ADC.

"In fact, the evidence gathered thus far supports the opposite. The IV team, which includes a licensed medical doctor, verified multiple times during the procedure that the inmate was comatose and never in pain. The record clearly shows the inmate was fully and deeply sedated beginning at 1:57 p.m. – three minutes after the administration of the execution drugs – until he was declared deceased at 3:49 p.m.," Ryan wrote in a statement.

In an interview with Politico, Senator John McCain called Wood's execution torture saying, "I believe in the death penalty for certain crimes. But that is not an acceptable way of carrying it out. And people who were responsible should be held responsible."

From the start, Wood's execution was more controversial than usual. The inmate was the first in Arizona to receive the two-dose protocol. The new lethal injection has been linked to problematic executions in other states.

Wood was convicted in the 1989 shooting death of his estranged girlfriend, Debra Dietz and her father, Eugene, at the family's Tucson automotive shop.