Oklahoma Department of Corrections
An Oklahoma death row inmate died Tuesday night from a heart attack after officials botched the delivery of a new lethal drug combination that was supposed to kill him.
The New York Times reports that Clayton D. Lockett "began to twitch and gasp" after a doctor had deemed he was unconscious, about 20 minutes after the first drug was administered. Witnesses said that Lockett mumbled "oh man" and tried to lift his head, before the doctor discovered that "the line had blown" and that the drugs, especially the sedative, were no longer entering his bloodstream. His lawyers question the failed veins explanation from prison officials.
Lockett was set to be the first of two inmates put to death Tuesday night, but after the botched execution, Director of Corrections Robert Patton requested a 14-day stay for the second inmate, Charles F. Warner. Gov. Mary Fallin (R) approved the request.
Both Lockett and Warner had earlier tried to delay the executions over Oklahoma's refusal to disclose the source of the new drugs that would be used in the injections. The Times reports that Lockett was set to first be injected with midazolam, which would make him unconscious and unable to feel pain. The second injection would have been of vecuronium bromide, which stops breathing, and the third of potassium chloride, which stops the heart. Florida has used a similar combination to execute prisoners, but with a higher dosage of midazolam.