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Botched Oklahoma Execution Leaves Inmate Writhing On Gurney

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http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/30/oklahoma-execution-botched-clayton-lockett

• State calls off second execution after failure of first
• Untested cocktail of drugs fails to kill Clayton Lockett
• Execution halted after 16 minutes, inmate dies later

The state of Oklahoma botched one execution and was forced to call off another on Tuesday when a disputed cocktail of drugs failed to kill a condemned prisoner who was left writhing on the gurney.

After the failure of a 20-minute attempt to execute him, Clayton Lockett was left to die of a heart attack in the execution chamber at the Oklahoma state penitentiary in McAlester. A lawyer said Lockett had effectively been "tortured to death".

For three minutes after the first drugs were delivered Lockett struggled violently, groaned and writhed, lifting his shoulders and head from the gurney.

Some 16 minutes after the execution began, and without Lockett being declared dead, the blinds separating the chamber from the viewing room were closed. The process was called off shortly afterwards. Lockett died 43 minutes after the first executions drugs were adminsitered.

The execution of Charles Warner, scheduled for 8pm local time, was then postponed. Like Lockett's it was to be carried out with a drug cocktail using dosages never before tried in American executions.

Madeline Cohen, an attorney for Warner, condemned the way Lockett was killed. "After weeks of Oklahoma refusing to disclose basic information about the drugs for tonight's lethal injection procedures, tonight Clayton Lockett was tortured to death," she said.

Richard Dieter, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, which monitors capital punishment, said: "This could be a real turning point in the whole debate as people get disgusted by this sort of thing.

"This might lead to a halt in executions until states can prove they can do it without problems. Someone was killed tonight by incompetence," he told the Associated Press.

..

Lockett, 38, was convicted of the killing of 19-year-old Stephanie Neiman in 1999. She was shot and buried alive. Lockett was also convicted of raping her friend in the violent home invasion that lead to Neiman's death.

Why don't they put them under a general anaesthetic first?

I'm surprised the US courts allowed them to use drugs which had never been tried, it seems a reciepe for disaster and so it was.

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http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/30/oklahoma-execution-botched-clayton-lockett

Why don't they put them under a general anaesthetic first?

I'm surprised the US courts allowed them to use drugs which had never been tried, it seems a reciepe for disaster and so it was.

Not that I'm a great fan of the death penalty, but if you are going to put someone to death and you don't want this kind of incident, then..

- Put them in a big jar and fill it with Nitrogen. Displaces the Co2 from your lungs so you don't notice that you are asphyxiating.

- Progressively Inject a very large dose of morphine.

- Bolt through the head (cattle-style). Messy but quick.

Not quite sure why they come up with these cocktails..

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Why don't they put them under a general anaesthetic first?

They used to. The "traditional" cocktail was a massive dose of anaesthetic followed by drugs that paralyse the muscles and stop the heart.

However, the pharmaceutical companies now refuse to sell the drugs for execution, so the executioners have been forced to find alternatives.

In this case they used a relatively low dose of a sedative, which causes unconsciousness but does not stop reflexes like gasping for air and muscle tensing. Rather than continue, guaranteeing a swift death. They stopped and didn't actually administer the rapid acting poisons.

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Lockett, 38, was convicted of the killing of 19-year-old Stephanie Neiman in 1999. She was shot and buried alive. Lockett was also convicted of raping her friend in the violent home invasion that lead to Neiman's death.

I'm not at all sure that I can get worked up about him writhing about a bit at the end. If he'd shown a fraction of the humanity, now being pointed in his direction, to his victims then he'd be pottering about in a garden somewhere, enjoying his freedom.

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It is stange how many right wing types who rage against the state are quite happy to give the state the power to kill fellow citizens.

I guess they think it could never happen to them.

Regarding the execution, I don't understand this issue with the anaesthetics not being available etc, just buy them from hospitals or other intermediaries instead of from the pharma companies. To my mind there wasn't much will to do this correctly, no-one cared enough.

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I wonder whether Stephanie Neiman endured the same suffering when she was shot by Lockett? Perhaps not. Or maybe when she was buried alive do you think that was comparable? I suppose the rape of Nieman's friend or the grief of her family doesn't really compare (i.e. they didn't die).

Apologies for being emotive. But I do think these points are relevant!

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I wonder whether Stephanie Neiman endured the same suffering when she was shot by Lockett? Perhaps not. Or maybe when she was buried alive do you think that was comparable? I suppose the rape of Nieman's friend or the grief of her family doesn't really compare (i.e. they didn't die).

Apologies for being emotive. But I do think these points are relevant!

and what if he turned out to be innocent?

after you'd condoned his being tortured to death.

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I wonder whether Stephanie Neiman endured the same suffering when she was shot by Lockett? Perhaps not. Or maybe when she was buried alive do you think that was comparable? I suppose the rape of Nieman's friend or the grief of her family doesn't really compare (i.e. they didn't die).

Apologies for being emotive. But I do think these points are relevant!

Why are they relevant?

Don't misunderstand me, I don't feel sorry for him if he was guilty.

However hotairmails point about judicial errors make the death penalty already dubious, and torturing the criminal to death makes it worse as it makes us like them.

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On the anaesthetics front couldn't they just open a prison hospital and require it for operations?

I've asked the 'why not general anaesthesia' question myself. I would've thought it was possible to do just about anything to someone under general anaesthetic without any discomfort. (This is apart from whether capital punishment is okay in the first instance.)

Perhaps someone could more clearly explain to me how a pharma company could refuse to sell the appropriate drugs to the state for this purpose.

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Whilst I absolutely 100% oppose the death penalty......... it can't really be called a 'botched' execution? I mean, he is dead. That was the end goal was it not? :huh:

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and what if he turned out to be innocent?

after you'd condoned his being tortured to death.

Oh I don't condone his torture. A bullet to the head would be far more appropriate. Cheap, instant and suitably disrespectful. But what I don't condone even more is OTT concern over an isolated incident of execution gone wrong. It's certainly not my priority today anyway. I'd much rather be concerned over the victims welfare, though I seem to be in a minority here. But that's ok.

Regarding his possible innocence...... that's an entirely different subject to an experimental execution gone awry. And it's been covered before in OT. I guess you either have faith in the judicial system or you don't. I wouldn't blame anyone who doesn't. But the unfortunate result of that is some very bad people getting away with horrible crimes.

So take your pick.

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I am against the death penalty.

Give the state the ability and there will be miscarriages of justice.

Look how many times it has happened over here, over and over again in our lifetimes, from framed IRA to framed mentally weak or flawed individuals.

there is no such thing as a Death Penalty...since even the cleansest of innocents have to suffer Death.

What it is, is a cessation of life penalty.

The incarcerated person could well have died in an accident outside of prison by chance.

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there is no such thing as a Death Penalty...since even the cleansest of innocents have to suffer Death.

What it is, is a cessation of life penalty.

The incarcerated person could well have died in an accident outside of prison by chance.

Considering the life history of many death row inmates, they may end up living longer after their crime due to being caught and convicted than they would have had they not been caught.. would be interesting to do the math.

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I don't agree with the death penalty for a whole load of reasons but, if it has to happen, I don't understand what's wrong with a firing squad as the mechanism. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have any problem getting people to sell them the guns and bullets needed.

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I don't agree with the death penalty for a whole load of reasons but, if it has to happen, I don't understand what's wrong with a firing squad as the mechanism. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have any problem getting people to sell them the guns and bullets needed.

I'm curious why the US never seems to have gone in for hanging, done properly it's probably the quickest and most efficient of the lot.

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I'm curious why the US never seems to have gone in for hanging, done properly it's probably the quickest and most efficient of the lot.

According to Wikipedia they used to do quite a bit of it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_punishment_in_the_United_States#Methods

I suspect they moved away from it due to the lynching connotation.

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According to Wikipedia they used to do quite a bit of it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_punishment_in_the_United_States#Methods

I suspect they moved away from it due to the lynching connotation.

I'm guessing they moved away from it as a rope is reusable as is the gallows. Using loads of drugs makes it far more complicated and much more "modern".

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It is stange how many right wing types who rage against the state are quite happy to give the state the power to kill fellow citizens.

I'm not sure I agree with that claim but leaving it aside...

Presumably this is a logical extension of "freedom" and the other side of the same coin "responsibility". You should be free to live without state interference as far as possible but also have the responsibility to manage your own affairs, make your own way in life and crucially you have the responsibility not to infringe other people's freedoms.

If you commit a serious crime you are responsible for it and any proportionate penalty is justified including, in the most serious cases, death.

In comparison the left appears to view criminals as "victims of society" who are not responsible for their actions and thus not deserving of punishment.

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Perhaps someone could more clearly explain to me how a pharma company could refuse to sell the appropriate drugs to the state for this purpose.

Pharma are not normally obliged to sell any drug to anyone.

Also , under European law, execution is illegal and any European-based Pharma company (or possibly, US-based with a European presence) knowingly supplying drugs for lethal injections would be commiting an offence. That may also extend to anaesthetics for the same purpose.

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