Originally published on Thu September 4, 2014 4:04 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.
A report on a problematic execution in Oklahoma shows lethal drugs caused the inmate to die, not a heart attack, after the state's prisons chief halted efforts to kill him.
Prisons Director Robert Patton had said inmate Clayton Lockett died from a heart attack several minutes after he ordered the execution stopped. In a report released Thursday, the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety said all three execution drugs were found throughout Lockett's system. A medical examiner declared that the cause of death was "judicial execution by lethal injection."
Another problematic prison execution is further fueling debate over the death penalty in the U.S.
At a state prison in Florence, Ariz. yesterday, it took almost two hours for convicted double murderer Joseph Wood to die after he was injected with a combination of sedative and painkiller. This problematic execution follows the one in Oklahoma that went awry in April.
Here's a little-noticed fact about the death penalty. We've heard a big debate about how to execute people - lethal injection, electric chair, firing squad. That debate obscures a little-noticed fact - the number of people executed by any method is way down in the United States in recent years. NPR justice correspondent Carrie Johnson has been covering this story. She's in our studios. Hi, Carrie.
Update at 4:57 p.m. ET. Federal Court Halts Execution:
With just hours to go, a federal court has halted the execution of Texas inmate Robert Campbell.
The execution would have been the first since Oklahoma botched one in April.
The ruling has nothing to do with the drug shortage that's dominated the narrative over the death penalty in the country. Instead, Campbell's lawyers argued that the state knew that Campbell was intellectually disabled but did not let his defense team know that.
On a Friday, it's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.
The state of Oklahoma now has at least six more months to get to know Charles Warner. He's a man who was scheduled to die, is sentenced for a brutal crime. But the state attorney general agreed to a stay of execution. That gives the state time to investigate the way it puts people to death. The investigation follows the execution of Clayton Lockett, a proceeding that took 43 minutes and intensified debate over the death penalty.