It is being reported that vein failure in Oklahoma inmate Clayton Lockett might have prevented the lethal drugs administered by Oklahoma officials Tuesday night from reaching Lockett in his botched execution. He eventually died of a heart attack.
Eyewitnesses stated that Lockett, age 38, started to violently struggle, groan and twist around after the deadly chemicals were given to him. State Corrections Director Robert Patton proceeded to stop Lockett’s execution, blaming a vein for “exploding”.
Authorities also called off another execution that was to occur later the same day as they attempted to figure out what had gone wrong. Lockett ended up dying 43 minutes after the first injection had been given, of what was believed to be an apparent heart attack.
The first drug, midazolam, he was given, was supposed to render him unconscious. However seven minutes later, Lockett was still aware. Around the 16 minute mark, eyewitnesses said that Lockett moved his mouth and then his head. It appeared he was trying to get up and even talk.
At this point in time prison officials closed the blinds so any onlookers would not be able to see anything else of what was happening.
Madeline Cohen, who is the attorney for Charles Warner, the inmate scheduled for execution by Oklahoma after Lockett on Tuesday. Warner received a short-term stay while a state investigation begins into what went wrong. Cohen declared that executions have to be stopped until there has been a full examination, independent investigation and complete transparency. Cohen added she would file court documents seeking an independent autopsy as well.
Oklahoma’s governor, Mary Fallin, only hours after the execution, ordered the Department of Corrections to start reviewing the state’s execution techniques and determine what went wrong.
Lockett had been convicted of shooting Stephanie Neiman, age 19 and then watched as two accomplices buried her alive back in 1999. He was pronounced dead at 7:06 p.m. CT. His execution officially started at 6:23 p.m. and he was declared dead 43 minutes later.
Lockett’s attorney, David Autry stated that the execution was very difficult to watch
This was the first time since 1937 that Oklahoma had scheduled two men to die on the same date, although it has taken place in other states since the death penalty was reestablished in the United States back in 1976. Texas had the last double execution.
Both Lockett and Warner had sued the state of Oklahoma for refusing to give any details about the execution drugs, including where the state had gotten them.
Oklahoma’s high court would later dismiss the two inmates’ claim that they had an entitlement to know where the source of the drugs was located.
By that time, Fallin, who is a Republican, had issued a stay of execution, which created a seven day delay in Lockett’s execution which meant that he and Warner would end up being scheduled to die on the same day.
The constitutionality over deadly drug injections along with drug cocktails have been making headlines since 2013 when numerous European manufacturers began to ban U.S. prisons from letting their drugs be used in any executions. That meant that 32 states had to find new places to obtain their drug injections. Due to all this, the death penalty in the United States has started to gradually decline.
With the problems that happened with the execution of inmate Clayton Lockett, it is unknown what will happen next.
By Kimberly Ruble