Arizona Attorney General weighs in on Oklahoma lethal injection - New York News

Arizona Attorney General weighs in on Oklahoma lethal injection case

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PHOENIX (KSAZ) - There are lots of questions after a botched execution Tuesday night in Oklahoma.

Clayton Lockett had an apparent heart attack 43 minutes after the start of an execution in which the state was using a new drug combination.

Arizona will be using a new drug combination as well for its next execution.  The first drug is Midazolam -- that's also the drug used for the first time in the Oklahoma execution that did not go as planned.

The unexpected reaction in Lockett started after the administration of Midazolam. That is also the first of two drugs given in Arizona's lethal injection protocol for executions, says Attorney General Tom Horne.

"It puts you to sleep and then eventually your heart stops. It should act peacefully," said Horne.  "In this case, his vein ruptured, so it wasn't a problem with drugs, it was a mechanical problem.  In Arizona, to prevent that if we think there's a problem with the vein, we go to the femoral vein in the thigh."

"Certainly I'm saddened and disgusted by this botched execution," said Dan Peitzmeyer, President of an anti-death penalty group in Arizona.  "I think part of the problem is the whole process is shrouded in secrecy.  We're not aware of source or safety of the drug."

A bigger question he asks is whether the state should be involved in the premeditated murder of its citizens.

Horne recounts Lockett's 1999 murder of a 19-year-old woman.

"He and somebody else wanted to rob someone and they bound her and gagged her and shot her and buried her alive.  There are people who do deserve capital punishment, but the state has an obligation to do it in as humane a way as it can and we take that obligation very seriously."

Many are saying, "What about the suffering of his young victim?"

Horne says they have just filed papers for the next death row inmate to be executed.  Joseph Woods will be the first inmate to be executed using this new two drug protocol.

Woods was convicted of killing his girlfriend and her father in Tucson in 1989.
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