OKLAHOMA – The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety has released the results of an investigation of the execution of inmate Clayton Lockett. The investigation revealed that Lockett died as the result of lethal injection. Also, the report recommends changes to the execution protocol by the Department of Corrections. The investigation results also identify the major issue with this execution.
You may remember, the department originally said Lockett’s veins collapsed during his execution and he died from a heart attack, and called it ‘botched’.
The state of Oklahoma Department of Public Safety gathered evidence and said their team of investigators determined there were some factors that contributed to his death during the execution process.
Based on the autopsy, Lockett’s cause of death was listed as Judicial Execution by Lethal Injection.
Pathologists concluded that Lockett died as the result of judicial execution by lethal injection.
The report points to IV access as the major issue with this execution.
“The physician and paramedic made several attempts to start a viable IV accesspoint. They both believed the IV access was the major issue with this execution. This investigation concluded the viability of the IV access point was the single greatest factor that contributed to the difficulty in administering the execution drugs.”
“While exploring this issue, several DOC personnel made statements referencing Lockett purposefully dehydrating himself. Lockett made statements to the paramedic that he had been dehydrating himself for three days.”
“However, SWIFS pathologists found no indication that Lockett was dehydrated at the time of his execution. SWIFS also concluded Lockett’s blood loss from the self-inflicted wounds to his arms should not have caused issues with the IV access.”
The investigation showed the Department of Corrections had some minor deviations from specific protocol requirements , but none of them contributed to the complications during the execution.
The report also determined that the Department of Corrections should establish formal and continual training programs for all personnel involved in the execution process.
You can read the entire investigation report from the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety here.
Governor Mary Fallin issued a statement which reads in part.
“My thanks go out to Commissioner Michael Thompson and his team for conducting a thorough review of Clayton Lockett’s execution. In the coming days and weeks, I expect the Department of Corrections to implement the proposed improvements in protocols to ensure that future executions are performed effectively. In fact, I have been told by DOC Director Robert Patton that his agency has already taken steps to rewrite its execution protocol in a manner that is consistent with these recommendations.”
The ACLU responded with two statements: The first is Ryan Kiesel, Executive Director, ACLU of Oklahoma
“It is appalling that the State of Oklahoma would try to pass this report off as the result of an independent inquiry when it is anything but independent. This incomplete report attempts to make light of fundamental failures that took place during the exercise of the government’s greatest authority; the deliberate taking of a person’s life. Regardless of where Oklahomans stand on the issue of the death penalty, we should all agree that we cannot grant the government this awesome power without demanding a level of accountability that reflects that power. That accountability can only be achieved with a truly independent investigation, not by a self-serving, internal review by government insiders that raises more questions than it answers.”
The second comes from Brady Henderson, Legal Director, ACLU of Oklahoma
“What is not included in this report is concerning, but what is inside it is just as disturbing. The report details extreme carelessness, lack of appropriate preparation, and slipshod decision-making by some of those charged with carrying out the most tremendous expression of our state government’s power. Worse yet, this self-assessment attempts to minimize and cast aside the administration’s own mistakes rather than calling attention to its culture of careless behavior; a culture that desperately needs to change if we as Oklahomans want to have a government worthy of our trust.”
The state’s next scheduled execution is set for November 13. Charles Warner, who was convicted of the rape and murder of an 11 month old infant, has been sentenced to die by lethal injection.