Arizona Death Row Inmate's Execution Takes Two Hours
Arizona death row inmate Joseph Wood, who had been sentenced to die for a 1989 double homicide, was executed Wednesday via a lethal injection that took nearly two hours to kill him.
Botched Execution In Arizona
Wood’s botched execution is merely the latest that has resulted from new methods of administering the lethal injection. After receiving the drug cocktail, Wood snorted and struggled to breathe until he finally expired, according to attorney Dale Baich.
"It took Joseph Wood two hours to die, and he gasped and struggled to breathe for about an hour and 40 minutes,” Baich said in a statement, according to CNN. “We will renew our efforts to get information about the manufacturer of drugs as well as how Arizona came up with the experimental formula of drugs it used today.”
Baich added, "Arizona appears to have joined several other states who have been responsible for an entirely preventable horror — a bungled execution."
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has admitted that the time it took for Wood to die is disconcerting, but is maintaining that his eighth amendment right to be executed without cruel and unusual punishment was not infringed upon. "One thing is certain, however, inmate Wood died in a lawful manner and by eyewitness and medical accounts he did not suffer,” claimed Brewer. “This is in stark comparison to the gruesome, vicious suffering that he inflicted on his two victims — and the lifetime of suffering he has caused their family.”
Regardless of Brewer’s beliefs, a federal judge has ordered officials to hold onto and collect the physical evidence in Wood’s execution. Multiple media witnesses have attested to Wood displaying behaviors that they’d not seen in other executions and that it was a hard scene to watch.
Following Wood's botched execution and that of Oklahoma’s bungled execution of Clayton Lockett, the American Civil Liberties Union is calling for all future executions to be halted until the efficacy of the new drug protocols can be tested and proven.
"It's time for Arizona and the other states still using lethal injection to admit that this experiment with unreliable drugs is a failure," the ACLU said in a statement. "Instead of hiding lethal injection under layers of foolish secrecy, these states need to show us where the drugs are coming from. Until they can give assurances that the drugs will work as intended, they must stop future executions."