In 1999, Clayton Lockett, a four-time convicted felon, and two accomplices were in the middle of a home break-in when 19-year-old Stephanie Neiman and a friend interrupted their crime. Lockett shot Neiman with a sawed-off shotgun and watched as the two accomplices buried her alive. For that crime, Clayton Lockett was sentenced to death by lethal injection by the state of Oklahoma. However, it wasn’t the drug cocktail that killed Lockett yesterday, but a heart attack. Murderer Clayton Lockett died after a botched execution due to a problem with the lethal injection cocktail.
Oklahoma uses the fairly standard drug cocktail: a sleep agent, a paralytic, and something to stop the heart, but a change in formula occurred after European drug manufacturers refused to sell to US prisons to avoid their products being used in lethal injections. Lockett was the first person to go through the new dosage sequence, and clearly it didn’t work; prison officials are blaming the failure on a collapsed vein. Some 13 minutes after being rendered unconscious, Lockett started straining on the gurney, trying to lift his head up, and breathing heavily. Officials called off the execution, but shortly afterwards, Lockett was dead anyway.
“It was a horrible thing to witness. This was totally botched,” said David Autry, Lockett’s attorney. “They should have anticipated possible problems with an untried execution protocol. Obviously the whole thing was gummed up and botched from beginning to end. Halting the execution obviously did Lockett no good.”
Perhaps it’s time to bring back a more humane method of execution, like the firing squad. It’s cleaner and more likely to result in a painless death than other methods, assuming your shooters are good enough to put a bullet into someone’s head from a few yards away.
Tags: McAlester, Oklahoma, Clayton Lockett, David Autry, botched execution kills prisoner, prisoner dies of heart attack after botched execution, execution botched, oklahoma execution failure, lethal injection, lethal injection cocktail fails to kill inmate, criminal justice, execution failure