Wednesday, March 19, 2014
First, Oklahoma had to delay two scheduled executions because it was unable to obtain the increasingly-difficult-to-find drug cocktail needed for the killings. The Atlantic now reports that the state has been disposing of unused execution drugs by injecting them into the already executed. The article begins:
The macabre practice, first reported Tuesday by The Colorado Independent, could tamper with postmortem toxicology results in a way that obscures from public knowledge the amount of pain endured during execution, a revelation that calls into question the state's methods for administering capital punishment at a time when lethal-injection protocols nationwide are drawing renewed scrutiny.
"Convicts executed in Oklahoma have in some cases died from overdoses of pentobarbital or sodium thiopental, the anesthetic, rather than the second and third injections in the three-drug cocktail, according to documents obtained by The Independent," reporter Katie Fretland writes. "Records show executioners then injected the remaining two drugs into convicts' dead bodies for what forms turned over in response to an open-records request refer to as 'disposal purposes.' "
State prison officials defended the practice, telling The Independent that it follows appropriate protocol.
Fretland's reporting also examines emails between Oklahoma officials joking about helping Texas obtain certain lethal drugs in exchange for college football tickets.
"Looks like they waited until the last minute and now need help from those they refused to help earlier," an official wrote in January 2011. "So, I propose we help if TX promises to take a dive in the OU-TX game for the next 4 years."
CRL&P related posts:
- Judge blocks Missouri's access to execution drug
- NYTimes calls for end to 'barbaric, racist' death penalty
- When victims' families defend defendants against capital punishment
- Correcting a Fatal Lottery: A Proposal to Apply the Civil Discrimination Standards to the Death Penalty