Governor calls for review after botched execution - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

Governor calls for review after botched execution

Posted: Updated:
  • More on WHDH.COMMore>>

  • AP INTERACTIVE: Death Penalty

    AP INTERACTIVE: Death Penalty

    Wednesday, April 30 2014 9:10 PM EDT2014-05-01 01:10:43 GMT
    An interactive tracking executions conducted across the U.S, including a database of all executions conducted since 1976.[more]
    An interactive tracking executions conducted across the U.S, including a database of all executions conducted since 1976.[more]
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin named a member of her Cabinet on Wednesday to lead a review of how the state conducts executions after a botched procedure that the White House said fell short of the humane standards required.

Fallin said Clayton Lockett, who had an apparent heart attack 43 minutes after the start of an execution in which the state was using a new drug combination for the first time, had his day in court.

"I believe the death penalty is an appropriate response and punishment to those who commit heinous crimes against their fellow men and women," Fallin said. "However, I also believe the state needs to be certain of its protocols and its procedures for executions and that they work."

Lockett convulsed violently and tried to lift his head after a doctor declared him unconscious, and prison officials halted the execution. Fallin said "an independent review" would be effective and appropriate.

The governor said the review, to be led by Department of Public Safety Commissioner Michael Thompson, will focus on Lockett's cause of death and that an independent pathologist will make that determination. The review will also look at whether the department followed the current protocol correctly and will include recommendations for future executions.

Fallin said a stay for Charles Warner, who had been scheduled to die two hours after Lockett, is in place until May 13. She said Warner's execution will be further delayed if the review is not complete by then.

Warner's attorney objected to the investigation being led by a member of Fallin's Cabinet.

"I don't consider that to be an independent investigation," said lawyer Madeline Cohen.

Attorney General Scott Pruitt, whose office has worked to keep secret details about the execution drugs, said he intends to assign investigators to work with Thompson.

The Oklahoma Board of Corrections planned to meet in a closed-door session Thursday to discuss the investigation and "possible litigation" connected to Lockett's execution. The department did not immediately respond to a request for details.

Lockett, 38, had been declared unconscious 10 minutes after the first of three drugs in the state's new lethal injection combination was administered Tuesday. Three minutes later, he began breathing heavily, clenching his teeth. The blinds were lowered to prevent those in the viewing gallery from watching, and the state's top prison official later halted the proceedings. Lockett died of a heart attack shortly thereafter, the Department of Corrections said. Officials later blamed a ruptured vein for the problems with Lockett's execution.

Previously, most executions in Oklahoma, which used different fast-acting barbiturates, were completed and the inmate declared dead within about 10 minutes of the procedure's start.

In Washington, White House spokesman Jay Carney said President Barack Obama believes that evidence suggests the death penalty does little to deter crime.

"But it's also the case that we have a fundamental standard in this country that even when the death penalty is justified, it must be carried out humanely," Carney said. "Everyone would recognize this case fell short of this standard."

Lockett was convicted of shooting 19-year-old Stephanie Neiman and watching as two accomplices buried her alive in rural Kay County in 1999. Neiman and a friend had interrupted the men as they robbed a home.

The medical examiner's office said the toxicology portion of the autopsy to determine what drugs were in Lockett's system had begun and the surgical portion will be conducted by an independent pathologist. Spokeswoman Amy Elliott initially said it could take two to four months to complete the toxicology report, but later said she expects the results sooner since they were sent to an independent laboratory for analysis.

Tuesday was the first time Oklahoma used the sedative midazolam as the first element in its execution drug combination. Other states have used it before; Florida administers 500 milligrams as part of its three-drug combination. Oklahoma used 100 milligrams.

Pruitt had said the lower dosage would ensure the state maintains an adequate supply for future executions. The state had information indicating that at that dose, "you go to sleep doggone quick," he said.

Lockett and Warner had sued the state for refusing to disclose details about the execution drugs. The state Supreme Court later dismissed the inmates' claim.
  • U.S. & World NewsMore>>

  • Israel swears in new president amid Gaza war

    Israel swears in new president amid Gaza war

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:15 PM EDT2014-07-24 19:15:18 GMT
    Israel's parliament has sworn in Reuven Rivlin as the country's new president, replacing Nobel Peace laureate Shimon Peres whose term ends as Israel is fighting a war against Hamas in Gaza.[more]
    Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shimon Peres ended his term as president of Israel on Thursday - a man who symbolizes hopes for peace capping a seven-decade public career amid the brutal reality of war. Peres handed the...[more]
  • Court: Poland violated human rights in CIA case

    Court: Poland violated human rights in CIA case

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:14 PM EDT2014-07-24 19:14:52 GMT
    Europe's top human rights court has ruled that Poland violated the European Convention on Human Rights by allowing the CIA to imprison two alleged terrorists on Polish soil.[more]
    Europe's top human rights court ruled Thursday that Poland violated the rights of two terror suspects by allowing the CIA to secretly imprison them on Polish soil from 2002-2003 and facilitating the conditions under...[more]
  • FAA lifts ban on US flights to Tel Aviv airport

    FAA lifts ban on US flights to Tel Aviv airport

    Thursday, July 24 2014 2:55 PM EDT2014-07-24 18:55:39 GMT
    The Federal Aviation Administration has lifted its ban on U.S. flights in and out of Israel.[more]
    The Federal Aviation Administration has lifted its ban on U.S. flights in and out of Israel.[more]
  • Stay Connected

  • Like Us on Facebook
  • Follow Us on Twitter
Powered by WorldNow

WHDH TV 7NBC WLVI TV CW56
Sunbeam Television Corp
7 Bulfinch Place
Boston, MA 02114

News Tips: (800) 280-TIPS
Tell Hank: (855) 247-HANK
Corporate Media Services: (800) 642-1551

Can't find something?
Connect with us here:
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WHDH. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.