Written by Kumudu Jayawardana
30 Apr, 2014 | 12:46 pm
A vein on an Oklahoma inmate “exploded” in the middle of his execution Tuesday, prompting authorities to abruptly halt the process and call off another execution later in the day as they try to figure out what went wrong.
The inmate, Clayton Lockett, died 43 minutes after the first injection was administered — according to reporter Courtney Francisco of CNN affiliate KFOR who witnessed the ordeal — of an apparent heart attack, Oklahoma Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton said.
That first drug, midazolam, is supposed to render a person unconscious. Seven minutes later, Lockett was still conscious. About 16 minutes in, after his mouth and then his head moved, he seemingly tried to get up and tried to talk, saying “man” aloud, according to the KFOR account.
Other reporters — including Cary Aspinwall of the Tulsa World newspaper — similarly claimed that Lockett was “still alive,” having lifted his head while prison officials lowered the blinds at that time so that onlookers couldn’t see what was going on.
Dean Sanderford, Lockett’s attorney, said that he saw his client’s body start “to twitch (and) he mumbled something.” Then “the convulsing got worse, it looked like his whole upper body was trying to lift off the gurney.”
Yet the office of Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin issued a statement indicating “execution officials said Lockett remained unconscious after the lethal injection drugs were administered.”
After the ordeal, Patton told reporters that Lockett, a convicted murderer, had been sedated and then was given the second and third drugs in protocol.
“There was some concern at that time that the drugs were not having the effect, so the doctor observed the line and determined that the line had blown,” he said, before elaborating that Lockett’s vein had “exploded.”
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