2 May 2014

Call for halt to executions in Oklahoma

3:49 pm on 2 May 2014

The director of prisons in the US state of Oklahoma is calling for an indefinite stop to all executions so procedures can be revised.

Clayton Lockett.

Clayton Lockett. Photo: AFP

In a botched exeuction earlier this week, death row inmate Clayton Lockett was left writhing in agony after he was given a new untested drug cocktail.

He died 43 minutes after the start of the lethal injection of a massive heart attack. The process usually takes 10 minutes.

AFP reports that in a letter to the Oklahoma Governor, Department of Corrections director Robert Patton recommends a "comprehensive review of the execution protocol". He said that would require a suspension of executions and recommended asking for court approval.

Mr Patton revealed that, prior to his execution, a defiant Lockett had been tasered early on Tuesday and he had also deliberately cut his arm.

Mr Patton also said that technicians had found it difficult to find a vein to insert the lethal drugs in and eventually found a "vital point" in the groin - suggesting that "the drugs were injected into Mr Lockett's flesh, rather than his veins," according to attorney Madeline Cohen.

Robert Patton's recommendations include putting decision-making in more senior hands, he said, adding: "I intend to explore best practices from other states and ensure the Oklahoma protocol adopts proven standards."