OK governor halts executions after botched lethal injection

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Oklahoma City, OK, United States (4E) – Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has postponed executions in the state pending an investigation of Tuesday’s botched lethal injection of an inmate and review of execution protocol.

Charles Frederick Warner, 46, who had also been scheduled to be put to death Tuesday at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, will have 14 days stay of his execution or more if the review takes longer, according to Fallin.

The governor ordered the moratorium on execution shortly after learning that convicted killer Clayton Derrell Lockett, 38, convulsed and died of a heart attack 43 minutes after being administered the lethal injection on Tuesday. The review aims to improve the execution protocol to prevent a repeat of what happened to Lockett.

A three-drug mix of chemicals was used on Lockett for the first time in Oklahoma: midazolam to induce unconsciousness; vecuronium bromide to stop respiration; and potassium chloride to stop the heart. Lockett writhed, grimaced and tried to move his head after drugs were administered and at a time when he was supposed to already be unconscious, Newsok.com reported.

Oklahoma corrections chief Robert Patton stopped the execution after about 20 minutes and drew the blinds of the viewing gallery window. Patton later said in a press conference that Lockett’s vein burst while the chemicals were injected on him.

An independent pathologist will do the autopsy on Lockett, said Amy Elliott, a spokeswoman for the state medical examiner.

Lockett was convicted in 1999 for the shooting and burying alive of 19-year-old Stephanie Nieman . Warner was convicted and sentenced to death for raping and killing his live-in girlfriend’s 11-month-old daughter in 1997.

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