Latifah Muhammad
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Oklahoma Inmate Dies From Heart Attack After Botched Execution

 

An Oklahoma inmate died from a heart attack Tuesday (April 29) evening after prison officials flubbed his execution.

Clayton Lockett was injected with a mixture of three lethal drugs and declared unconscious, only to wake back up clenching his teeth, making comments, trying to lift his head, and breathing heavily as he lay on a gurney in a prison death chamber.

Lockett, 38, lost a bid to find out the exactly which three drugs would be used to end his life. “It was a horrible thing to witness,” his attorney David Autry said. “This was totally botched.”

At 6:23 p.m. Lockett was given the first of three drugs, the following two were to be administered once he was under. He was believed unconscious by 6:33 p.m. Three minute later he started squirming and twisting, and at 6:39 a doctor took a closer look at the injection site. The dosage amount of the latter two drugs was unclear, but were meant to further sedate him and stop his heart within minutes. “After conferring with the warden, [it was] unknown how much drugs went into him, it was my decision to stop the execution,” department director Robert Patton explained.

When Lockett woke back up, officials closed the blinds in the room to prevent onlookers from seeing the mishap. He was officially pronounced dead at 7:06 p.m.

The lethal injection was the first time the drug midazolam was used in an Oklahoma execution. “They should have anticipated possible problems with an untried execution protocol. Obviously the whole thing was gummed up and botched from beginning to end,” said Autry. “Halting the execution obviously did Lockett no good.”

After the Lockett incident, officials delayed the execution of another inmate, Charles Warner, convicted of raping a friend’s 11-month-old daughter. Warner maintains his innocence, he was scheduled to die a couple hours after Lockett.

Lockett was convicted in the 1999 shooting of 19-year-old Stephanie Neiman then watching as two cohorts buried her alive. The victim had walked into a home that the men were robbing.


Photo: Oklahoma Department of Corrections

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