Southern Oklahoma reacts to failed execution

By: Helen Headlee Email
By: Helen Headlee Email

ARDMORE, OK - At 6:23 Tuesday evening Clayton Lockett was given a lethal injection. But after being declared unconscious minutes into the procedure, witnesses say he mumbled, clenched his teeth and writhed on the gurney.

He was pronounced dead at 7:06 of a heart attack.

Senator Frank Simpson said this failed execution hasn't changed his mind on the death penalty.

"In my opinion if you take a human life and the penalty you pay is sacrificing your own life too it shows the value that we have on human life," said Simpson.

Lockett was convicted of murder in 2000 after he shot 19-year-old Stephanie Neiman and buried her alive. He was on death row for 14 years awaiting execution. Tuesday night he went to the chamber where a new three-drug cocktail was injected into his vein.Doctors said that vein blew and they halted the execution, but Lockett died 40 minutes later.

"It's upsetting because nobody should have to die that way, and it's not in--I think--our place to kill for any reason no matter what the crime," said Ardmore resident Christin Leverett.

"It's not that I'm in favor of the death penalty," said Andrew Sears, another resident. "If you take someone's life like that, I don't know, that's not humane, is it?"

Governor Mary Fallin has ordered an independent review of execution protocols. It will focus on Lockett's cause of death, whether the DOC followed protocol and recommendations to improve execution protocols.

Lockett's family are reportedly considering legal action against the state.


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