Sunday, October 5, 2014

Oklahoma prison officials announce new procedures for killing people

Oklahoma officials are hoping changes to the protocol for executions will prevent the state's next killing from repeating that of Clayton Lockett, which was cancelled after he "writhed in pain, clenched his teeth and appeared to struggle against the restraints" only for him to die just more than half an hour later of a heart attack. CNS's David Lee:

Under the new protocols, the IV team is given one hour to attempt an IV insertion. If they are unsuccessful, the warden must contact the governor to advise of the problem and "potentially request a postponement of the execution."


A team member and a prison unit section chief must both confirm the viability of the IV sites, as well. The team may try to tap a femoral vein as an alternative site under the new protocols.


During Lockett's execution, the team had to tap a vein in his groin because they were unable to tap veins elsewhere. Warden Anita Trammell ordered Lockett's groin and the IV line insertion area covered with a sheet to maintain Lockett's dignity and keep his genital area covered.


Prison officials' claims of not being able to find veins on Lockett elsewhere and that the veins had been "blown out" were disputed by a preliminary autopsy in June, which noted that he had "excellent integrity and peripheral and deep veins" for the purpose of an IV insertion.


Dr. Joseph Cohen, an independent forensic pathologist, was unable to find "any significant underlying natural disease" nor a "cardiac condition" that played a role in Lockett's death by heart attack.


The new protocols also greatly reduce the number of media witnesses in executions, from 12 to 5. Preference will be given to media from where the crime was committed and to The Associated Press.

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