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>>

  • Filipino troops pull 'greatest escape' from Syria

    Filipino troops pull 'greatest escape' from Syria

    Sunday, August 31 2014 3:53 AM EDT2014-08-31 07:53:31 GMT
    Under cover of darkness, 40 Filipino peacekeepers made a daring escape after being surrounded and under fire for seven hours by Syrian rebels in the Golan Heights, Philippine officials said Sunday, leaving 44...[more]
    Under cover of darkness, 40 Filipino peacekeepers made a daring escape after being surrounded and under fire for seven hours by Syrian rebels in the Golan Heights, Philippine officials said Sunday, leaving 44 Fijian troops...[more]
  • Pakistani protester dies in clashes with police

    Pakistani protester dies in clashes with police

    Sunday, August 31 2014 2:40 AM EDT2014-08-31 06:40:46 GMT
    Pakistani police are clashing with scattered pockets of anti-government protesters trying to advance on the prime minister's residence after a night of violence that saw hundreds wounded and the first death in...[more]
    Pakistani police on Sunday clashed with scattered pockets of anti-government protesters trying to advance on the prime minister's residence after a night of violence that saw hundreds wounded and the first death in...[more]
  • Judge finds Texas abortion rules unconstitutional

    Judge finds Texas abortion rules unconstitutional

    Sunday, August 31 2014 2:00 AM EDT2014-08-31 06:00:29 GMT
    Tough new Texas abortion restrictions are on hold after a federal judge found Republican-led efforts to hold abortion clinics to hospital-level operating standards unconstitutional in a ruling that spares more than...[more]
    Tough new Texas abortion restrictions are on hold after a federal judge found Republican-led efforts to hold abortion clinics to hospital-level operating standards unconstitutional in a ruling that spares more than a dozen...[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.