Arizona botched two-hour execution

This video from the USA says about itself:

24 July 2014

Arizona death row prisoner Joseph Wood was killed almost two hours after he received a lethal drug injection of midazolam and hydromorphone that had only been used once before in an execution in Ohio.

By Gabriel Black in the USA:

Arizona man dies in horrific two-hour execution

24 July 2014

The state of Arizona killed Joseph Wood by lethal injection Wednesday in an execution process that took almost two hours. The botched lethal injection was just one of several that have been carried out in the United States in the past few months.

The execution took place around 1.30 p.m., local-time. After Joseph Wood’s arms were injected with two lines, his veins were filled with a combination of the drugs midazolam and hydromorphone. According to an eyewitness with the Associated Press (AP), a look of pain overtook Wood’s face, and then Wood closed his eyes.

Ten minutes into the execution, roughly the amount of time lethal injections usually take to kill someone, Wood began gasping. Eyewitnesses reported that his jaw suddenly dropped and his chest puffed up. Afterwards he let out a gasp. AP reported: “The gasps repeated every five to 12 seconds. They went on and on, hundreds of times.”

After some time, the executioner turned on the microphone to the observers and informed them that Wood was, in fact, sedated, despite the noises he was making.

Troy Hayden, an eye witness to the execution, told USA Today that the execution was “very disturbing to watch … like a fish on shore gulping for air.” A reporter for the Arizona Republic, Michael Kiefer, said he “counted about 660 times he [Wood] gasped.”

As the execution continued, with the repeated gasping continuing on and on, Wood’s lawyers drew up an emergency appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court asking that the execution be immediately stayed.

In their plea they wrote, “He has been gasping and snorting for more than an hour… He is still alive.” Indicting the state, they concluded: “This execution has violated Mr. Wood’s Eight Amendment right to be executed in the absence of cruel and unusual punishment.”

The legal team drew attention to Arizona State law’s “Contingency Procedure” for executions, which states: “If at any point any team member determines that any part of the execution process is not going according to procedure, they shall advise the IV Team Leader who shall immediately notify the Director. The Director may consult with persons deemed appropriate and will determine to go forward with the procedure, start the procedure over at a later time within the 24-hour day, or stand down.”

The Supreme Court of Arizona held an emergency session by telephone in response to the lawyer’s motion; however, Wood was pronounced dead an hour later, while the court was still discussing the issue.

In April of this year, the state of Oklahoma killed Clayton Lockett in a 43-minute execution process. After being injected with the lethal drugs, Lockett began kicking and grimacing, trying to lift his head off the gurney to which he was strapped. Lockett’s veins exploded during the execution and he eventually died from a massive heart attack.

State execution chambers have been experimenting with drug cocktails after several European nations banned the export of drugs used for capital punishment to the United States. These experiments have led to multiple executions this year, in which the condemned is clearly in profound pain and, or, the killings took multiple times the usual length of ten minutes.

Before Wood was executed, his lawyers demanded that the court provide details regarding the two drugs they were going to use to kill him. His lawyers petitioned the court to stay the execution, which they did temporarily. The lawyers argued that Wood’s death would be both cruel and unusual.

After the execution Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona denounced Wood’s death and called for a halt to future executions in the state. Alessandra Soler, the Arizona ACLU’s Executive Director, stated: “What happened today to Mr. Wood was an experiment that the state did its best to hide.” She said that government officials “cannot be trusted to take seriously our Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.”

Wood was the 26th person to be executed this year in the United States. He was on death row for a double murder he committed in the late 1980s.

See also here.

Joseph Rudolph Wood was put to death by the state of Arizona on Wednesday. The 55-year-old’s execution was the third in the space of six months in which the condemned was subjected to a prolonged, agonizing lethal injection procedure. The previous atrocities occurred in Ohio and Oklahoma. In Wood’s case, the gruesome ordeal spanned nearly two hours: here.

Arizona lawyers lead call for inquiry into Joseph Wood’s two-hour execution: here.

Missouri set to execute inmate despite evidence state lied about lethal injection drugs: here.

A new court document filed in the western district of Oklahoma provides new details on the events leading to and surrounding the torture and execution of Clayton D. Lockett, whose state execution was botched in April of this year. The document provides tremendous insight into the barbaric execution process that has been abandoned by all but a few nations around the world: here.

The first executions of the new year took place this week in three US states: Georgia, Florida and Oklahoma. In each case, a combination of state governors, appeals courts and the US Supreme Court declined to intervene, allowing the lethal injections to proceed: here.

EXECUTION OF ONLY WOMAN ON GEORGIA’S DEATH ROW DELAYED After concerns arose over a drug to be used in the execution. [Kim Bellware, HuffPost]

On Monday, Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed into law a bill reinstating the firing squad as a method of execution. The bill gives the state government the option of shooting prisoners if it is unable to secure the drugs needed to kill them by lethal injection: here.

Britain: A major drugs supplier to the NHS could be complicit in the executions of nine US prisoners on death row, a human-rights charity claimed yesterday. Reprieve revealed that pharmaceutical giant Mylan has ignored warnings that one of its drugs could be used to kill inmates in Alabama: here.

GEORGIA CARRIES OUT 1,500TH U.S. EXECUTION SINCE DEATH PENALTY WAS REINSTATED Marion Wilson, 42, was put to death by lethal injection Thursday night for killing an off-duty prison guard in 1996. He was the 10th inmate executed in the United States in 2019 and the second in Georgia, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. [Reuters]

43 thoughts on “Arizona botched two-hour execution

  1. The prolonged pain is planned as all part of the punishment, same as the commentator who stated the twitching is not of a conscious man, this is said of animals with throats slit whilst alive, they feel pain, the guilt of man will not admit to macabre cruelty.


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