AFRICANGLOBE – Some of the three drugs used in the botched execution of Oklahoma inmate Clayton Lockett earlier this week didn’t enter Lockett’s system because the vein they were injected into had collapsed.
The collapsed vein wasn’t noticed until 21 minutes into the execution, during which Lockett writhed in pain before being declared dead 43 minutes after the first drug was administered, The New York Daily News reports.
That vein was located in Clayton Lockett’s groin, the only usable vein a phlebotomist was able to locate after 50 minutes of searching the inmate’s body.
Lockett was tasered earlier that day when he refused to be restrained and had cut his arm before dawn but neither incident has been been proven to be a possible explanation as to why veins in Lockett’s neck or arms were deemed unable.
The collapsed vein caused the drugs to be absorbed into tissue, leaked out or both. Lockett was in a great deal of pain at this point because an IV into the groin is a torturous procedure in itself.
The doctor supervising the execution reported that there weren’t enough drugs in Lockett’s system to cause death nor were there enough drugs available to finish the job.
This prompted the execution to be halted at 6:56 pm.
Lockett died of a heart attack about 10 minutes later.
There were many firsts in this execution, with a lethal injection to the groin using these three drugs being one of them.
The first drug administered was midozolam, a sedative typically given to children before surgery.
This has been used as the first ingredient in lethal three-drug cocktails several times before but we can assume it was never administered nor properly tested for use in the groin.
The two other drugs were vecuronium bromide, a muscle relaxant, and potassium chloride, which halts the beat of the heart once the victim is unconscious.
Lockett’s attorneys requested that the source of the three drugs be revealed before the execution, but the state is not legally obligated to release this information. Anti-death penalty advocates voiced significant concern over the execution when this request was denied.
States used to get lethal injection drugs from European pharmaceutical companies, but many of these companies are now refusing to supply the drugs because they object to capital punishment.
The Oklahoma Corrections Department has said that it will continue to use lethal injection in executions despite the controversy surrounding Clayton Lockett’s death.
Michelle Alexander – The New Jim Crow