Judge denies stay of execution for inmates questioning lethal injection drug
OKLAHOMA CITY – Execution preparations will continue for two convicted murderers currently suing the state over its lethal injection process.
Oklahoma County District Judge Patricia Parrish did not grant a restraining order to halt executions for Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner during a hearing today.
Attorneys for the inmates filed the restraining order in an attempt to keep the two alive while their lawsuit makes its way through the state court system.
Both are scheduled to be put to death later this month.
Lockett and Warner are not appealing their convictions but are part of a joint lawsuit requesting more information on the drug pentobarbital, which is currently used in Oklahoma lethal injections.
The drug has been the subject of controversy after it was administered to Michael Wilson, who yelled, “I can feel my whole body burning,” during his January execution.
Attorneys for the two said they will immediately appeal today’s decision to the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
Under current state law, no information about the drugs used in a lethal injection is required to be released.
“As a result of this secrecy policy, nothing is known about the pharmacy Oklahoma uses to obtain execution drugs, or the drug it will provide, including who made the drug, how they made it and the source and quality of the raw ingredients,” Madeline Cohen, an Assistant Federal Public Defender, said in an email about the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges the drug is made at an Oklahoma compounding pharmacy which is not strictly regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Lockett is scheduled for execution March 20.
He was convicted in the 1999 slaying of Stephanie Neiman and rape of her friend in Perry, Oklahoma.
Warner was convicted in the 1997 rape and murder of an 11-month-old girl.
His execution is scheduled for March 27.