Arizona execution: As Joseph Wood died, a deacon prayed

Arizona execution: As Joseph Wood died, a deacon prayed July 24, 2014

The accounts of yesterday’s botched execution are horrifying. But a deacon was with him as he died:

A convicted double murderer snorted and gasped some 600 times as it took him almost two hours to die during a botched Arizona execution Wednesday.

An attorney for Joseph Wood filed an emergency stay of execution about 70 minutes after the procedure had begun and left the 55-year-old inmate “gasping and snorting for more than an hour.”

“This execution has violated Mr. Wood’s Eighth Amendment right to be executed in the absence of cruel and unusual punishment,” the filing read.

The man was pronounced dead at 3:49 p.m. local time, 117 minutes after it began. Dean Baich, Wood’s defense attorney, said the execution using a combination of midazolam and hydromorphone, should have taken 10 minutes.

An administrator checked on Wood a half dozen times. His breathing slowed as a deacon said a prayer while holding a rosary.

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