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Oklahoma botches execution of Clayton Lockett following drug controversy

Charles Warner (left) and Clayton Lockett
Charles Warner (left) and Clayton Lockett
Photo courtesy of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections

Clayton Lockett was officially administered a cocktail of three drugs at 6:23 p.m. which were expected to execute him within moments. After 16 minutes into the execution, officials closed the viewing window and stated the execution would be halted. Lockett could still be seen struggling, breathing heavy, and attempting to raise his head.

Robert Patton, director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, spoke to the media afterwards, stating that the execution was botched and that Lockett was declared dead from a heart attack at 7:06 p.m. Patton told media that the drugs were all administered but did not have the desired effect.

The execution of Charles Warner, which was to follow the execution of Lockett at 8 p.m., has been postponed for 14 days.

The dual execution had recently been put back on track after a series of court challenges by the inmates. The inmates had challenged the state to disclose information on the execution drugs, as well as where the state obtained them.

Oklahoma’s Supreme Court declared that the inmates had no right to the information, and the executions were quickly rescheduled.

The combination of drugs administered Tuesday was the first time for Oklahoma. The lawsuit by the inmates stated that the drugs could possibly cause severe pain and would violate the Eighth Amendment.

Lockett, 38, was convicted in 2000 for the 1999 rape and murder of Stephanie Nieman, as well as multiple other convictions. Warner, 46, was convicted in 2003 for the 1997 rape and murder of 11-month-old Adrianna Waller.

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