Oklahoma Stops Botched Execution. Inmate Dies Anyway.

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Oklahoma seems to be having trouble executing people.

First, attorneys for death row inmates got a judge to agree that their clients could not be executed because of an Oklahoma law that grants anonymity to the companies that supply the toxic brew of killer drugs used to kill the prisoners.

Once the state got past that roadblock, it had to call off an execution in progress because the needle in the inmate’s arm was evidently putting the killer drugs into the surrounding tissue instead of the bloodstream.

According to the doctor who was in attendance at the execution, the vein in convicted murderer Clayton Lockett’s arm which was being used to administer the drug “blew.” The first indication that the “drugs were not having an effect” was when the inmate didn’t die. The doctor checked and found that they were going into the surrounding tissues in Lockett’s arm instead of the vein. At that point, officials halted the execution.

Lockett died 43 minutes later of what has been termed “an apparent heart attack.” I’m no doctor, and I’m just guessing, but my guess is that since the drugs went into muscle and fatty tissue instead of the bloodstream, it took those drugs longer to kill Mr Lockett, but that he ultimately died of their effects.

The first drug was supposed to make Mr Lockett unconscious almost immediately. According to witnesses, he was still awake seven minutes after the drugs were administered. Sixteen minutes into the execution, when he should have been long dead, he moved his head and tried to talk. Then, according to his attorney, he began to convulse.

I don’t favor the death penalty. However, I don’t question that Mr Lockett was a cold-blooded murderer. He should have been locked up and forgotten; no parole, no question of parole, no interviews or sad stories about his wasted life.

I think it’s important to remember a gutsy teen-ager named Stephanie Neiman. Mr Lockett was given the death penalty for murdering Miss Neiman.

Mr Lockett and three accomplices kidnapped a 9-month old baby, the baby’s father, and teenager Stephanie Neiman in a home invasion. Miss Neiman was bound and gagged with duct tape. Mr Lockett forced her to watch while his accomplice dug her grave. The first time he tried to shoot her, the gun jammed, so he got a shotgun to use for the execution-style murder.

Witnesses said they heard Miss Neiman, begging for her life. Then, they heard a single shot. After that, they heard Lockett and his accomplices “laughing about how tough Stephanie was.” Then Mr Lockett shot her again.

Mr Lockett then ordered his accomplice to bury Miss Neiman, even though she was still alive.

I’m not going to comment on this beyond sharing the facts. I think the facts speak for themselves.

From CNN:

(CNN) – A vein on an Oklahoma inmate “exploded” in the middle of his execution Tuesday, prompting authorities to abruptly halt the process and call off another execution later in the day as they try to figure out what went wrong.

The inmate, Clayton Lockett, died 43 minutes after the first injection was administered — according to reporter Courtney Francisco ofCNN affiliate KFOR who witnessed the ordeal — of an apparent heart attack, Oklahoma Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton said.

That first drug, midazolam, is supposed to render a person unconscious. Seven minutes later, Lockett was still conscious. About 16 minutes in, after his mouth and then his head moved, he seemingly tried to get up and tried to talk, saying “man” aloud, according to the KFOR account.

Other reporters — including Cary Aspinwall of the Tulsa Worldnewspaper — similarly claimed that Lockett was “still alive,” having lifted his head while prison officials lowered the blinds at that time so that onlookers couldn’t see what was going on.

  • pagansister

    As harsh as this sounds, IMO the important thing here is that he is no longer alive. Don’t know how long he was on death row, but up until yesterday, he was still alive and his victim wasn’t. According to the article he showed NO mercy for a woman begging for her life. Did he deserve mercy? Not in my opinion. Even locked away forever meant he was alive.

    • FW Ken

      Which of us do deserve mercy?

      And I know enough about prison life to think that being locked away forever may well be a punishment worse than death.

      • pagansister

        Who deserves mercy? The woman who was killed begging for her life. I know we don’t agree on this, Ken, but as awful as you say being locked away for live may be—he would still be breathing. She isn’t. Obviously all cases are different and not all murderers deserve to die as punishment. In this case—well you know how I feel.

        • FW Ken

          This recent set of comments had shown me how much my own thinking had changed on this. I have always relied on the non-religious arguments against the death penalty. More and more, I think about the mercy that had been shown me despite the many things I’ve done, and mercy is becoming the centerpiece of my thinking. Now. That girl is in the hands of a mercy greater then you or I have to offer. So is this killer.
          For us, I think the question is what kind of society we want to be. Vengeance is not justice; is the seed of the whirlwind.

          And yes, prison is hell. And the criminal justice system can’t be trusted to administer the death penalty justly. And all that.

          And that’s what I think about it. ☺

          • pagansister

            Yes, Ken, and I’m not being disrespectful here of your faith , I wouldn’t do that, as I do respect those beliefs, but if she is in the hands of God, as you believe, she is still not here on this planet with her family and friends. She was deprived of a full and hopefully happy life and not allowed, because of the murderer, to finish life as she should have been. He lived longer than she did, because of his crime. Keeping that faith belief, he should be in a place commonly known as hell. That certainly must be worse than any time in the penal system. He deserved no mercy, as I’ve implied before. Thanks for your very honest, as always, response. :-)

            • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

              Maybe the answer isn’t to make death more merciful, but prisons more like hell.

              • pagansister

                Theodore, if I understand from some of the things Ken has mentioned in previous posts, prisons are similar to hell for many prisoners. If this fellow had some pain in his execution, I do not feel bad about it. Perhaps he felt some of what his victim did before she died horribly.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    “The first time he tried to shoot her, the gun jammed, so he got a shotgun to use for the execution-style murder.”
    How appropriate that the needle blew his vein and he got to experience the same delay. God is just. Only wish he could have been buried alive himself. The death penalty is justice.

  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

    Even with Stephanie’s horrendous death, I can’t agree with what happened to Lockett. He should have been forced into hard labor, working every day to make sure Stephanie’s family had everything they needed. Death was too good for him, even a botched death like this one.

  • SisterCynthia

    The facts do speak for themselves, don’t they? Different people will still take away different meanings/implications, tho.

  • EMS

    Yet another botched execution. Maybe the states should talk to the euthansia folks. They seem to have no trouble killing old/young/ill/not ill people all the time. Neither do vets. What do they use? That said, I don’t believe in the death penalty, despite his crimes. Death is too quick a punishment for those charged with horrendous crimes.

  • Sus_1

    So the State is as barbaric as who they killed. As bad as him. Disgusting!

    I agree with Ted’s comment below.

    I’d rather be dead than locked up. Sorry Rebecca, I know you don’t like comments like that but it’s true for me. There are other ways to punish people that don’t take us down to the criminal’s level.

  • Mrshopey

    “I’m no doctor, and I’m just guessing, but my guess is that since the
    drugs went into muscle and fatty tissue instead of the bloodstream, it
    took those drugs longer to kill Mr Lockett, but that he ultimately died
    of their effects.” Similar to burying someone alive who had been shot but not dead? I don’t believe they did this on purpose, those administering the drug, but the irony is stark. We are not to pursue vengeance but justice is not vengeance. What if that little episode, his heart attack, was what it took for him to repent and turn to God?


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