A Department of Corrections photo of Clayton Lockett.
REUTERS/Oklahoma Department of Corrections
Oklahoma halted the execution of a prison inmate due to
problems with its lethal injection, but the man later died of
an apparent heart attack about 40 minutes after the drugs
started to flow into his body, a prisons spokesman said.
Thirteen minutes after administering a lethal injection,
Clayton Lockett lifted his head and started mumbling and the
doctor on scene halted the execution, said state corrections
department spokesman Jerry Massie.
"We believe that a vein was blown and the drugs weren't
working as they were designed to. The director ordered a halt
to the execution," Massie said.
Lockett apparently died of a massive heart attack less than
an hour after the execution drugs were administered, he said.
The execution had been put on hold for several weeks due to a
legal fight over a new cocktail of chemicals for the lethal
injection, with lawyers arguing the state was withholding
crucial information about the drugs to be used.
Last week, the state Oklahoma Supreme Court lifted stays of
execution for Lockett and another inmate who was also
scheduled to be executed on Tuesday, saying the state had
provided them with enough information about the lethal
injection cocktail to meet constitutional requirements.
The other inmate, Charles Warner, who was scheduled to be put
to death two hours after Lockett on Tuesday, has been granted
a 14-day stay of execution after the problems, Massie said.
Oklahoma had set up a new lethal injection procedure and
cocktail of chemicals earlier this year after it was no
longer able to obtain the drugs it had once used for
Oklahoma and other states have been scrambling to find new
suppliers and chemical combinations after drug makers, mostly
in Europe, imposed sales bans because they objected to having
medications made for other purposes being used in lethal
Attorneys for death row inmates have argued that the drugs
used in Oklahoma and other states could cause unnecessarily
painful deaths, which would amount to cruel and unusual
punishment in violation of the US Constitution.