Oklahoma inmate Clayton Lockett died during a botched execution, minutes after a doctor had called a halt to the procedure, raising more questions about new death penalty cocktails used by the state and others.
Thirteen minutes had elapsed after officials administered the lethal injection when Lockett lifted his head and started mumbling. The doctor on scene immediately halted the execution. Lockett however, unexpectedly died of a massive heart attack about 30 minutes after that. "We believe that a vein was blown and the drugs weren't working as they were designed to," state corrections department spokesman Jerry Massie said.
"This might lead to a halt in executions until states can prove they can do it without problems. Someone was killed tonight by incompetence," said Richard Dieter, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, which monitors capital punishment.
The incident comes on the heels of a new statistical study which concludes that about one in 25 people imprisoned under a death sentence is likely innocent. Which means it is all but certain that at least several of the 1,320 defendants put to death since 1977 were innocent, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.