State acquires new lethal injection cocktail

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Attorney General’s Office confirms the state has acquired the drugs needed to execute two Oklahoma death row inmates this month.

Clayton Lockett is scheduled to die on April 22.  Charles Warner is scheduled to die April 29.

Their executions were supposed to happen in March, but the state rescheduled the lethal injections due to the nationwide shortage of drugs.

Now that the state has a new three-drug cocktail, attorneys for the men plan to ask for another delay in executions because they fear the new drugs could result in cruel and unusual punishment.

The Attorney General’s Office says Department of Corrections plans to use Midazolam, Pancuronium Bromide and Potassium Chloride. A mixture never before used in Oklahoma.

The state already had a lethal dose of the Potassium Chloride.

However, manufacturers not wanting their drugs associated with lethal injections stopped supplying the drugs.

So our state was without Sodium Thiopental or Pentobarbital. In turn, a compounding pharmacy has replaced those drugs with the Midazolam and Pancuronium Bromide.

“I think scary is a good word,” said Attorney Madeline Cohen.

Cohen is one of the attorneys for Lockett and Warner.

The drug she’s so afraid of is the Midazolam, the sedative.

“Everything rests on the effective use of that first anesthetic drug,” said Cohen.

If that drug doesn’t work, the men would feel the pain that comes with the two drugs that actually kill them, possibly cruel and unusual.

“There is no dispute that a paralytic like Pancuronium Bromide and Potassium Chloride will cause excruciating pain.”

Midazolam doesn’t have the most reliable pain relieving reputation.

It’s only been used a few times.

When used in the execution of Ohio’s Dennis McGuire, he reportedly gasped for breath.

However, Cohen admits, some Oklahomans have little compassion when it comes to whether a convicted killer suffers.

“I do hear from people who are on death row don’t deserve sympathy, but I like to point out that the 8th Amendment of the Constitution, those concerns, are about us. They’re not about the person on death row as much as they are about us as a society,” said Cohen.

Further, she is concerned about where this new cocktail is made.

An Oklahoma County District Judge ruled Wednesday that the Department of Corrections and the Attorney General’s Office is acting against the Constitution when it conceals the name of the compounding pharmacies who make the lethal drugs.

However, neither DOC or the AG’s office would answer NewsChannel Four’s questions about the drugs.

“I do not know where they’ve gotten it from. I don’t know whether it was tested. I don’t know how it’s been stored, don’t know what it’s expiration date is. So i have all of those questions,” said Cohen. “Compounding pharmacies are not heavily regulated by the FDA, and their products carry grave risks of contamination.”

Attorneys for Lockett and Warner plan to apply for a stay of execution this week.

CLICK HERE TO HEAR FROM LOCKETT’S FAMILY