Florence, AZ, United States (4E) – Lawyers of Arizona murder convict Joseph Wood III tried in vain to stop his execution Wednesday as he died from substitute lethal drugs injected in him.
The Arizona Department of Corrections began the execution of Wood by injecting him with midazolam and hydromorphone at 1:52 p.m. (4:52 p.m. ET). The drugs were supposed to kill Wood in 10 minutes but he started breathing at 2:03 p.m. He gasped and snorted for more than one hour before expiring at 3:49 p.m., according to Arizona Attorney General spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham.
While Wood was gasping and snorting, his lawyers filed an emergency motion for a stay of his execution with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on grounds that the extended execution violated Wood’s Eighth Amendment right to be executed in the absence of cruel and unusual punishment.
Wood’s defenders also filed a motion for stay with the state Supreme Court before the execution scheduled at 10 a.m. so his case could be reviewed. Wood asked the court to order Arizona to name the manufacturer of the drugs to be used in the execution in light of the agonizing death caused by the substitute execution drugs during a recent execution in Oklahoma. The state justified keeping the source confidential to protect the manufacturer from reprisal.
The Arizona Supreme Court briefly considered Wood’s motion for stay but lifted it later without explanation delaying Wood’s execution.