“It feels like acid,” Charles Warner said. “My body is on fire.”
Some of Charles Warner’s last words described how he allegedly felt even before he was lethally injected. Although he was only receiving saline drops through an IV at that particular time, his words were actually a chilling foreboding of the horrific execution he’d soon suffer. Warner was executed in Oklahoma back in January. But now details about his autopsy have been released, and it has been reported that he was injected with the wrong drug.
According to KFOR, the autopsy indicates officials injected Warner with potassium acetate instead of potassium chloride. Warner’s execution was the first to be carried out in Oklahoma since the botched execution of death row inmate Curt Lockett. Back in April, Lockett’s execution reportedly lasted more than 40 minutes after officials administered the wrong drug.
Just last week, death row inmate Richard Glossip was scheduled to be executed, but because he was also given the wrong drug, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin issued a stay before the execution was carried out. Now, Dale Baich, an attorney for Glossip, is questioning the state’s ability to carry out executions that are not categorized as “cruel and unusual” punishments, according to the Daily Mail.
“The State’s disclosure that it used potassium acetate instead of potassium chloride during the execution of Charles Warner yet again raises serious questions about the ability of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections to carry out executions,” Baich said. “The execution logs for Charles Warner say that he was administered potassium chloride, but now the State says potassium acetate was used. We will explore this in detail through the discovery process in the federal litigation.”
Charles Warner made headlines years ago after he was found guilty of raping and murdering his roomate’s 11-month-old infant, Adrianna, on Aug. 22, 1997. Over the years, several news outlets have reported the graphic details of the criminal documents, revealing the mother of the child, Shonda Waller, came home from the grocery story to find her daughter, “undressed, limp and lifeless,” according to Tulsa World.
The baby was pronounced dead on arrival after being taken to Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City. While a nurse cleaned Adrianna so she could be held by her mother one last time, it was discovered that she had been sexually abused. However, that’s not all. The autopsy revealed many other factors that contributed to the child’s death, which has been described as “horror.”
According to NBC News, Adrianna’s “crushing injury” to the head left her with a skull fracture and brain damage. She also had a broken jaw and fractured ribs along with liver lacerations and bruising to her spleen and lungs. The infant’s horrific death led to the charges that were brought against Warner, who was tried and convicted of rape and murder. Following Glossip’s scheduled execution, the Attorney General’s office was made aware of the injection discrepancy and decided to inquire about the situation. “As you are aware, the Attorney General’s office has opened an inquiry. Out of respect for that inquiry, we will not [be] making any comment at this time,” DOC Director Robert Patton said.
“Last Wednesday, in the early afternoon on the day of Richard Glossip’s scheduled execution, the Department of Corrections consulted with the attorney general’s office and then called my office to say they had received a drug called potassium acetate instead of the drug potassium chloride. This was the first time that myself or anyone in my office had been notified of potassium acetate. According to the DOC staff, the doctor working with the agency as well as the pharmacist assured the DOC that the two drugs are medically interchangeable. The active ingredient is potassium which, when injected in large quantities, stops the heart.”
At this point, the investigation will be ongoing. No further details have been released about the executions in question.
[Photo by Joe Raedle/Newsmakers]