Botched Execution in Oklahoma Traumatizes Witnesses, Brings Executions in the State to a Halt

For those who viewed the execution of Clayton Lockett this week in Oklahoma, it was a grim experience.  According to witnesses Mr. Lockett, who was supposed to be sedated, writhed and convulsed on the gurney, shaking uncontrollably and trying to speak.  Curtains were then closed to prevent further viewing.  After more than 40 minutes the inmate was declared dead from a heart attack.

The Lockett execution was to be the first of a planned double execution during the evening.  The execution of Charles Warner was postponed and Governor Mary Fallin ordered an investigation.

The weeks before the execution were marked by a bitter struggle between politicians and the courts.  After judges had ordered a delay in the executions because of the secrecy surrounding the drugs used, Governor Fallin declared the court had overstepped its authority and ordered the executions to proceed.  A legislator even drafted a resolution calling for impeachment of the judges.  Fearing political backlash the judges reversed their decision and allowed the executions to proceed.

The botched execution brought condemnation across the nation and re-ignited the death penalty debate.

 

Posted: May 2, 2014

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