Using lethal injection to carry out a sentence of death is supposed to be more humane than the electric chair. Unfortunately, it turned into a nightmare for Clayton Lockett when his death sentence was carried out in Oklahoma last April. The execution went so badly that state officials tried to cancel it while it was being carried out.
As the Associated Press reported, when the drugs were injected into Lockett’s body, he started writhing, and officials attending the execution shut the gallery curtains to hide what the warden described as a “bloody mess.” Lockett didn’t die from the drugs, but he passed away 43 minutes after the first injection from a heart attack.
Lockett’s execution wasn’t the only one during the year that was botched. There were problems with executions in both Ohio and Arizona, which made death penalty opponents think that maybe states would have a change of heart about continuing with executions. However, these cases have made little, if any, impact on how states with the death penalty change their minds about using it.
Although the governor of Oklahoma, Mary Fallin, stayed further executions until Lockett’s death and Oklahoma execution methods could be reviewed, an updated death chamber was revealed just a few weeks later, and executions are scheduled to resume next month. In other states, because of issues with lethal injection, alternative methods are being explored to carry out the death penalty.
Tennessee has passed a law that reinstated the electric chair if lethal injection drugs cannot be procured. As the Inquisitr reported, Utah is considering reinstating executions by firing squad because of problems with lethal injections. Oklahoma is also considering an alternative by using nitrogen gas for executions, which would make hypoxia by gas a legal method.
As reported by the Christian Science Monitor, lethal injection drugs are getting more difficult to procure because the drug manufacturers who made them are no longer willing to sell them. As a result, states are procuring the drugs from questionable sources that they will not reveal. In addition, medical doctors are no longer willing to inject the drugs for ethical purposes.
Even though Lockett’s execution was badly botched, an Oklahoma state senator, Republican Ralph Shortey, says about 90 percent of his constituents are still in favor of having the death penalty as an option in the conservative state.
“The average Oklahoman is saying he got exactly what he deserves. A lot of people think they should suffer even more than they do. They think the lethal injection is too easy for them.”
Tell us what you think. Should the death penalty be abolished nationally? If not, which methods should be allowed to carry out death sentences?
[Image by the Associated Press]