Wednesday, July 23, 2014

If a Botched Execution Isn't Enough to End the Death Penalty in Arizona, What Is?

Posted By on Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 4:59 PM

I get it that it's a standard liberal trope to oppose the death penalty and then for conservatives to say that's soft on crime, and by all means, Joseph Rudolph Wood III did some awful, awful things for which he should be punished, but regardless of any of that, if we can't actually manage to execute people properly or with drugs that can be disclosed, it's hard for me to understand how this sort of thing is ok:

The Wednesday afternoon execution of convicted murderer Joseph Rudolph Wood III took nearly two hours, confirming concerns that had been raised by his attorneys about a controversial drug used by the state of Arizona.

Wood remained alive at Arizona's state prison in Florence long enough for his public defenders to file an emergency motion for a stay of execution with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, after the process began at 1:53 p.m. The motion noted that Wood "has been gasping and snorting for more than an hour" after being injected with a lethal cocktail of drugs.

According to Arizona Republic reporter Michael Kiefer, who witnessed the execution, lines were run into each of Wood's arms. After Wood said his last words, he was unconscious by 1:57 p.m. At about 2:05, he started gasping, Kiefer said.

"I counted about 660 times he gasped," Kiefer said. "That petered out by 3:33. The death was called at 3:49."

"I just know it was not efficient. It took a long time," Kiefer said.

Another reporter who witnessed the execution, Troy Hayden, said it was "very disturbing to watch ... like a fish on shore gulping for air."

An Arizona Republic interview with Michael Kiefer is below the cut.

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