The governor of U.S. State of Oklahoma called for an independent review how the state conducts executions after a botched procedure that was expected to intensify the debate over how the United States handles lethal injections.
The White House said Wednesday that the execution of Clayton Lockett, who had an apparent heart attack 43 minutes after his execution began, fell short of the humane standards required.
“Even when the death penalty is justified, it must be carried out humanely, and I think everyone would recognise that this case fell short of that standard,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said at a news conference.
Lockett was convicted of shooting 19-year-old Stephanie Neiman and watching as two accomplices buried her alive in 1999.The manner of his death drew censure from human rights groups, but Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin said Lockett had his day in court and the legal process worked.
“I believe the death penalty is an appropriate response and punishment to those who commit heinous crimes against their fellow men and women,” she said at a news conference. Lockett, 38, had been declared unconscious 10 minutes after the first of three drugs in the state’s new lethal injection combination was administered Tuesday. Three minutes later, he began breathing heavily, clenching his teeth.
The blinds were lowered to prevent those in the viewing gallery from watching, and the state’s top prison official later halted the proceedings. Lockett died of a heart attack shortly thereafter, the Department of Corrections said. CCTV’s Chris Clackum reports.