Clayton Lockett Dies Of Heart Attack After Botched Execution
On Tuesday night, Oklahoma State Penitentiary inmate Clayton Lockett was scheduled for an execution that ultimately lasted over 40 minutes in which he writhed and groaned. He eventually died of a heart attack in the execution chamber after officials moved to halt the procedure.
Death Row Inmate's Execution Botched
Lockett, 38, had been on death row for raping a 19-year-old girl, shooting her and then ordering a friend to bury her alive. He and another inmate, Charles Warner, were both scheduled to die on April 29 in what was to be Oklahoma’s first double-execution since 1937. Charles Warner had been found guilty of raping and murdering an 11-month-old, but has maintained his innocence.
Those who were going to witness Lockett’s execution were warned ahead of time that it could take a little bit of time for the newly approved drug cocktail to take effect, according to The Guardian. Contrary to what Oklahoma corrections department spokesperson Jerry Massie had in mind, the execution lasted far longer.
After the drugs were administered, Lockett did not immediately fall unconscious. “Beneath a white sheet pulled to his neck, the restrained prisoner blinked and pursed his lips,” according to Guardian reporter Katie Fretland, who attended the execution. “At first he looked straight ahead, but after four minutes, he turned towards the witness area.”
“Lockett lurched forward against his restraints, writhing and attempting to speak,” Fretland added. “He strained and struggled violently, his body twisting, and his head reaching up from the gurney. Sixteen minutes after the execution began, Lockett said 'Man,' and [state prison warden Anita Trammell] decreed the blinds be lowered.”
Eventually the witness’ view of the prisoner was obscured by a curtain. They were subsequently informed by the corrections department director, Richard Patton, that something had gone wrong that prevented the procedure from going forth as planned. "We’ve had a vein failure in which the chemicals did not make it into the offender," he told those in the viewing room.
Charles Warner's Execution Halted; Lawyers React
Patton also said that Warner’s death would not be taking place that night and that Lockett suffered what “appears to be a massive heart attack” after they decided to bail on the execution. Warner is now scheduled for execution in two weeks. During the 14-day stay, the Department of Corrections will conduct a “full review of Oklahoma's execution procedures to determine what happened and why during this evening's execution,” as ordered by Governor Mary Fallin.
"It was a horrible thing to witness. This was totally botched," said Lockett's lawyer, David Autry, according to The Telegraph. Warner’s lawyer, Madeline Cohen, said that Lockett had essentially been “tortured to death.”
– Chelsea Regan