Originally published on Thu September 4, 2014 3:04 pm
A misplaced intravenous line was responsible for the botched execution of an Oklahoma inmate last April, an official report released on Thursday found.
Clayton D. Lockett suffered a prolonged execution because the IV line inserted into his groin area delivered the fatal dosage of drugs to the surrounding tissue rather than directly into the bloodstream.
In 1977, death row inmate Gary Mark Gilmore chose to be executed by a firing squad. Gilmore was strapped to a chair at the Utah State Prison, and five officers shot him.
The media circus that ensued prompted a group of lawmakers in nearby Oklahoma to wonder if there might be a better way to handle executions. They approached Dr. Jay Chapman, the state medical examiner at the time, who proposed using three drugs, based loosely on anesthesia procedures at the time: one drug to knock out the inmates, one to relax or paralyze them, and a final drug that would stop their hearts.
Oklahoma's botched execution of Clayton Lockett is prompting other states to question their use of the drug midazolam in lethal injections. The Lockett execution is fueling new calls to re-examine how states put inmates to death.
If you can’t get lethal injection drugs, how do you impose the death penalty?
"We have the death sentence. Whether some of you agree with that or disagree with it, that's what we have,” said House Criminal Justice committee chairman Joe Lopinto. “If we're going to have that we need to be able, as a state, to follow through with that order."