Oklahoma Officials Botch Execution after Controversy over Lethal Injection Drugs

Last night, the execution of an inmate in Oklahoma went very wrong, as prison officials halted the botched procedure only to have the inmate die of a heart attack a short time later. The failed lethal injection follows a controversy over the source of the state’s execution drugs. After several drug makers refused to sell the chemicals used for capital punishment, Oklahoma received a supply of a new three-drug cocktail, refusing to reveal the source despite protests from the defense attorneys of death row inmates.

According to witnesses, at about 16 minutes into last night’s execution, inmate Clayton Lockett, attempted to lift his head, loudly saying “man” and “something’s wrong” before prison officials lowered the curtains to the execution chambers so designated witnesses couldn’t see what was happening. The doctor then ordered that the execution be halted, though within 43 minutes of the procedure beginning, Lockett was dead of an apparent heart attack.

In 2000, Lockett was convicted of murder, rape, kidnapping and robbery during a home invasion in which a 19-year-old was reportedly buried alive. The department of corrections said that the problem with the execution was the result of Lockett’s vein collapsing, not the new combination of the three-drug cocktail, though Lockett’s lawyer disputes this. After Lockett’s death, the lethal injection of another inmate, scheduled for later that evening, has been delayed …

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