The first double execution in Oklahoma since 1937 was botched badly tonight when the cocktail of chemicals that was supposed to kill 38-year-old Clayton Lockett failed to actually kill him.
Various news reports and tweets from the McAlester prison where Lockett was held reported that the new cocktail included the sedative midazolam, which is normally used as a seizure medication. The drug has seen an increase of inclusion in the lethal injection process after the manufacturers of phenobarbital, the process’ previous sedative, forbade its use.
According to Bailey Elise McBride and Sean Murphy from the Associated Press:
The execution began at 6:23 p.m. when officials began administering the first drug, and a doctor declared Lockett to be unconscious at 6:33 p.m.
About three minutes later, though, Lockett began breathing heavily, writhing on the gurney, clenching his teeth and straining to lift his head off the pillow. After about three minutes, a doctor lifted the sheet that was covering Lockett to examine the injection site. After that, an official who was inside the death chamber lowered the blinds, preventing those in the viewing room from seeing what was happening.
Patton then made a series of phone calls before calling a halt to the execution. He also issued a 14-day postponement in the execution of inmate Charles Warner, who had been scheduled to die on Tuesday, two hours after Lockett was put to death.
Lockett allegedly died of a massive heart attack 20 minutes after the initial injection, though not much is known past that.
Oklahoma is one of 32 states that still carry the death penalty as punishment.
It should be the next state to abolish it.
I think this is one of my worst nightmares. I don't know any worse way to die. Think about this:
You commit a crime. You are arrested. You do years of court dates and move between jail and prison and the courthouse. You see family. You see the victims family. You endure stress. Your friends disown you. God hates you. You are forced to be remorseful. You are told what to do, how to act, and rehearse your lines for hours. You meet people. You fight with people. You hide. You find a new place in life.
You are found guilty.
You spend another number of weeks preparing for sentencing. You do the entire process again, only this time you already know you have been found guilty.
You are sentenced to death.
You spend twenty years in prison. You come to terms with your impending death and all the emotional hell that comes with it. Your range of emotions fluctuate across guilt, denial, anger, grief, horror, sadness, acceptance. You have appeals. You make friends. You fight. You lose friends. Your family disappears slowly. Your kids are now the same age as you when you entered prison. You try to find meaning in life. You have appeal court dates. You read. You hope. You lose hope. There is no hope. There is hope.
You finally arrive at the date. You are forced to accept your death. You go through a whole new series of emotions processing you now super-impending death. You say goodbye. You still don't know the meaning of life. You eat. You say your last words.
You feel the needle.
You drift off.
You get foggy.
And then you feel enormous, horrible pain and gasp for air and try not to drown and try to keep your head from exploding. You are confused. You hope. You see God.
Nope. You cringe for 20 minutes enduring this purgatory on a cold slab with florescent lights and an itchy injection site and people poking and talking and stressing out in loud whispers.
And then your heart explodes.