An Oklahoma death row inmate has died from an apparent heart attack resulting from what seems to have been a botched execution.
Clayton Lockett was injected with the first drug, midazolam, which is supposed to cause unconsciousness, at 6:23 p.m. A doctor declared the 38-year-old inmate – who was convicted of first-degree murder and rape, kidnapping, and robbery – to be unconscious at 6:33 p.m.
Oklahoma Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton later told reporters that after Lockett was sedated, he was given the second and third drugs in protocol, which were vecuronium bromide to then stop his breathing and potassium chloride to stop his heart.
And Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin issued a statement indicating “execution officials said Lockett remained unconscious after the lethal injection drugs were administered.”
But according to CNN affiliate reporter Courtney Francisco, who witnessed the ordeal, Lockett’s mouth and head moved, and he seemingly tried to get up and talk, saying “man” about 16 minutes into the execution.
“It was extremely difficult to watch,” says Lockett’s attorney, David Autry.
Other reporters also claim that Lockett was “still alive,” and prison officials lowered the blinds so no one see what was happening.
“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,” Patton says, before adding that Lockett’s vein had “exploded.”
Patton then made several phone calls before halting the execution. He also issued a 14-day stay for 46-year-old inmate Charles Warner, who was convicted of first-degree rape and murder of his then-girlfriend’s 11-month-old daughter, and scheduled to be executed two hours after Lockett.
Both inmates had challenged Oklahoma’s Department of Corrections’ unwillingness to divulge which drugs would be used since European manufacturers had banned U.S. prisons from using their drugs in executions, leaving 32 states to find new drug protocols. Lockett and Warner also took issue with the state’s so-called secrecy provision forbidding it from disclosing the identities of anyone involved in the execution process or suppliers of any drugs or medical equipment.
Oklahoma’s high court initially issued stays for the two inmates but lifted them last week, ruling they had no right to know the source of the drugs.
Lockett’s attorney questions the amount of midazolam given, saying he thinks it was “an overdose quantity.” Warner’s attorney, Madeline Cohen, says that further legal action can be expected given how “something went horribly awry.”
State Governor Fallin has ordered an investigation and issued an executive order granting a two-week delay in executions.
“I have asked the Department of Corrections to conduct a full review of Oklahoma’s execution procedures to determine what happened and why during this evening’s execution of Clayton Derrell Lockett,” she says in a statement.