Oklahoma Execution Botched and Halted, Inmate Dies of Heart Attack

Update: The execution was botched and halted, but the inmate then had a heart attack and died. The execution of the second inmate was postponed.

Despite the controversy over lethal injection drugs, Oklahoma will proceed tonight to kill two inmates. The federal defender for one of them says:

“Tonight, in a climate of secrecy and political posturing, Oklahoma intends to kill two death row prisoners using an experimental new drug protocol, including a paralytic, making it impossible to know whether the executions will comport with the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual suffering...We have serious questions — were these drugs imported, are they counterfeit, what is the expiration date, are they tainted?”

Oklahoma's new drug protocol has not yet been tested. One of the drugs, the one that sedates and reduces pain, will be given in a much smaller amount that provided by another state that uses the same drug in its death cocktail.

Mr. Lockett is first to be injected with midazolam, a benzodiazepine intended to render the prisoner unconscious and unable to feel pain. This would be followed by injections of vecuronium bromide, a paralyzing agent that stops breathing, and then potassium chloride, which stops the heart.

This combination has been used in Florida, but with a much higher dose of midazolam than Oklahoma is planning to use. Without effective sedation, the second two drugs could cause agonizing suffocation and pain.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court last week stayed the executions over the state's refusal to disclose where it got its drugs, saying it wanted time to study the matter. The Governor overrode it.

Last Monday, the Supreme Court said that to avoid a miscarriage of justice, it would delay the executions until it had time to resolve the secrecy matter. The next day, Governor Fallin, a Republican, said the Supreme Court had overstepped its powers, and directed officials to carry out both executions on April 29.

How does a Governor have the authority to essentially veto a decision of the state's highest court? No matter, the Supreme Court then quickly decided the issue (in favor of the Governor's position) and said the executions could proceed.

And get this: One of the inmates to be killed tonight had his last meal request refused because it cost more than $15.00.

For his last meal, he requested Chateaubriand steak, fried shrimp, a loaded baked potato, garlic toast, an entire pecan pie and a liter of Coke Classic. His order was denied because its cost exceeded the state’s $15 limit, said Jerry Massie, spokesman for the Department of Corrections.

(Anyone remember the song from the Depression, One Meatball? I posted the lyrics here.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Oklahoma Execution Botched ... (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by desertswine on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 10:11:52 PM EST
    An. Absoute. Horror.

    Have you heard any (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 10:18:00 PM EST
    Of the eye witness accounts? Unbelievable.

    Man (none / 0) (#1)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 07:46:33 PM EST
    What can you eat theses days for less that 15 bucks.  Your last meal has to be junk food?  That sounds like something from a Mel Brooks movie that you could laugh at because it could never actually be true.  The mind boggles.

    Good lord (none / 0) (#2)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 08:08:07 PM EST
    That comment now seems flippant.  It really wasn't meant to be.  That's horrible.

    Last time we discussed meal prices, (none / 0) (#7)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 11:01:01 PM EST
    it was Sheriff Joe's brag about 25 cent Thanksgiving dinners.

    Serious question.... (none / 0) (#3)
    by magster on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 09:35:17 PM EST
    Why did hanging fall out of favor for executions? Seems much quicker and painless, provided the neck breaks than the chair, gas chamber and lethal injections.

    partly because a botched hanging... (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by Dadler on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 10:14:22 PM EST
    ...is called a beheading.

    OTOH (none / 0) (#9)
    by Mikado Cat on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 02:11:52 AM EST
     A beheading isn't a botched execution.

    I understand the point of the discussion of methods, but the real issue is yes or no, not how.


    I was snarking (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Dadler on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 08:49:07 AM EST
    Literal gallows humor. And i'm anti-DP, the entire thing is horrific.

    Actually (none / 0) (#13)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 10:17:49 AM EST
    Beheading might be considered quick and painless compared to what seems to,have happened last night.

    Can't disagree (none / 0) (#17)
    by Dadler on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 01:00:40 PM EST

    I am not so sure (none / 0) (#21)
    by MKS on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 09:52:36 PM EST
    From accounts of the Guillotine, the severed heads still perceive for a few seconds...and have mouthed words....maybe up to 15-30 seconds...

    Can you imagine the horror of that?  Looking around at people while still conscious....through your eyes in a severed head.

    Shooting seems better.....  


    If we're gonna do it... (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by kdog on Thu May 01, 2014 at 08:34:26 AM EST
    (and I don't think we should do it) a lethal dose of morphine is the most humane way to be inhumane.

    A fairly gruesome description of hanging, (none / 0) (#25)
    by Mr Natural on Thu May 01, 2014 at 09:10:44 AM EST
    here, in this google preview of Ruth Ellis, My Sister's Secret Life.

    If the bookmark doesn't take, begin reading after "Critchell of Brixton, a hangman in London for eight years."


    Interesting. Thanks for link.... (none / 0) (#30)
    by magster on Thu May 01, 2014 at 11:07:50 AM EST
    Kinda seems that hanging is discontinued because of the effect on the living (witnesses and relatives) versus the expediency of the manner of death.

    Interesting Washington Post article on manner of executions today.


    Lots of speculation (none / 0) (#22)
    by Mikado Cat on Thu May 01, 2014 at 01:21:21 AM EST
    at the time that a severed head might be conscious, but little reason to think so now.

    conscious.. (none / 0) (#29)
    by jondee on Thu May 01, 2014 at 10:43:14 AM EST
    highly educated people still debate about the nature of consciousness, and if and where it can be localized. Traditionally, in parts of the Far East, the seat of consciousness was thought to be in the lower belly.

    Remember Fred the Headless Chicken?


    So then (none / 0) (#10)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 06:54:05 AM EST
    No problem with what happened last night in OK?

    Absolutely. Last night has shown ... (none / 0) (#12)
    by magster on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 08:59:09 AM EST
    that there is no place for that kind of barbarism in a civilized society. My question was more academic, with so much thought and taxpayer money going into methods of execution that supposedly comply with the 8th Amendment, the one that seemed the most sure and quick was dispensed with for the chair, gas chamber and now this lethal injection cocktail mixed in some guys basement pharmacy.

    These people believe literally (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by jondee on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 11:08:11 AM EST
    that God (who is love) let "his son" be killed in the most sadistic way imaginable..

    I don't see how one could expect a lot of compassion toward the suffering of mere fellow humans from people who believe things like that..  


    These were MY people in high school (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by Dadler on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 01:04:47 PM EST
    Trust me, there is nothing more painful than listening to the rationalizations of "good Christians" regarding the suffering of innocents under a supposedly omnipotent and loving god. As if that sort of god wouldn't just hit every Planned Parenthood office with a lightning bolt if he were really whom you thought he was. I got in trouble for this kind of thinking back then, being a closet liberal just there to play basketball, especially when I talked about the virgin birth in light of the first test-tube baby, and how a virgin really could give birth with the new science. Shoulda seen the look on my Bible teacher's face when I brought that one up.

    I think (none / 0) (#16)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 12:12:38 PM EST
    Its mostly a political thing (none / 0) (#15)
    by Mikado Cat on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 11:52:10 AM EST
    Typical politics, don't like something, but can't stop it directly, monkeywrench it. True of the right and left for ages.

    I don't strongly side either pro or con on the basic issue of execution, its not entirely bad or good, but as it is now its messed up and should either be fixed or ended.

    Since the butcher job execution... (none / 0) (#24)
    by kdog on Thu May 01, 2014 at 08:56:57 AM EST
    was stayed before the man died, could anybody be looking at murder charges?  Like say that maniac Gov. Fallin?

    I was also wondering if she might (none / 0) (#26)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu May 01, 2014 at 09:12:57 AM EST
    Have some splainin to do especially since she apparently ignored a court ordered stay to proceed. But looks no.  

    The Oklahoma supreme court has dissolved its stay of the executions of two men who challenged the state's secrecy about its source of lethal injection drugs. The court reversed the decision of a district court judge who said the law that keeps the source secret is unconstitutional.

    The turnaround heads off a potential constitutional crisis sparked by the state's Republican governor, Mary Fallin, who had tried to override the stay by issuing an executive order to go ahead with the sentences.

    A day after the Oklahoma supreme court originally issued a stay of execution for the two convicted killers, the governor issued her own order on Tuesday that the state would carry out the sentences next week, but legal experts said she had no power to do so.

    Checks and Balances... (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by kdog on Thu May 01, 2014 at 09:33:10 AM EST
    do not exist in Okie, apparently.  

    Don't like a SC ruling?  Threaten to impeach every justice and get a ruling reversed in 24 hours or less.  It's insane.


    Hubris v. Politician: (none / 0) (#27)
    by Mr Natural on Thu May 01, 2014 at 09:17:15 AM EST
    Hubris always wins.