Governor Jan Brewer is calling for an investigation in the botched execution of an Arizona death row inmate earlier this week. Joseph Rudolph Wood was scheduled to be executed on Wednesday for the double murder of 29-year-old Debbie Dietz and 55-year-old Gene Dietz in 1989. The method of execution was lethal injection, meaning Wood would be injected with a compound meant to kill him quickly and painlessly. Unfortunately, after the chemical was injected, Wood lived for an additional two hours, struggling to breathe, until he finally passed away.
On the day of the execution, Brewer made a public statement in relations to the extraneous time it took Wood to die. According to The Huffington Post, Brewer said in her statement:
“One thing is certain, however, inmate Wood died in a lawful manner and by eyewitness and medical accounts he did not suffer,” she said. “This is in stark comparison to the gruesome, vicious suffering that he inflicted on his two victims, and the lifetime of suffering he has caused their family.”
Now Brewer has changed her tune, decrying the time it took Wood to pass, and calling for an all-out investigation, Brewer has asked the Arizona Department of Corrections to review the steps it took in Wood’s execution, now noting that the length of time was concerning.
Dale Baich, the attorney for Joseph Wood, issued a statement on the execution of his client.
“Arizona appears to have joined several other states who have been responsible for an entirely preventable horror,” Dale Baich, an attorney for Mr. Wood, said.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Baich and two other attorneys tried to get an emergency court order to halt the execution an hour into Wood’s gasping for air while dying.
He said two other lawyers representing Mr. Wood left the viewing room while the inmate lay on a gurney and called their office to instruct it to file papers in state and federal courts alleging their client was being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. They also sought to reach out to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy through his clerk’s office, Mr. Baich said, but ultimately the execution was allowed to continue.
Even Arizona senator John McCain has entered the debate. As reported on The Inquisitr, McCain called Wood’s botched execution ‘torture.’
Arizona uses a lethal cocktail of sedative Midazolam and painkiller Hydromorphone to put convicted criminals to death. In April of this year, as reported by The Inquisitr, Oklahoma botched the lethal injection of convicted killer Clayton Lockett, but the chemicals used in Oklahoma were different than what was used in Arizona.
Opponents of the death penalty are calling for wider investigation to the events that led to Wood’s execution in Arizona. Jan Brewer, who is not seeking another term as Arizona’s governor, will most likely be out of office before the Arizona Department of Corrections’ findings are published.
[Images courtesy of WTSP.com (Joseph Wood) and Getty Images (Jan Brewer)]