Okla. death row inmates seek to halt executions

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A group of Oklahoma death row inmates are asking a federal judge to halt their executions, claiming in a lawsuit that the state's death penalty procedure is unconstitutional and that state officials are experimenting with inmates' lives.

In a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday, 21 death row inmates asked a judge to disallow any attempt to execute them under the current procedures. The lawsuit contends the state's current lethal injection protocol presents a risk of "severe pain, needless suffering and a lingering death."

The lawsuit follows the state's botched April 29 execution of Clayton Lockett, who writhed on the gurney, moaned and clenched his teeth for several minutes while the state used a new three-drug method.

His execution was halted, but Lockett died anyway about 43 minutes after the execution started.

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