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DOC may have to testify before grand jury in execution drug mix-up investigation

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No executions will go forward now until next year, while the attorney general’s office investigates the drug mix-up in McAlester last month.

Now, Attorney General Scott Pruitt could put DOC officials in front of a grand jury.

The multi-county grand jury is one of the investigative options available to the attorney general’s office, and Pruitt has indicated he’s prepared to use it to get answers from the people calling the shots at the Department of Corrections.

The AG is investigating one of its own state agencies.

The drug mix-up that halted Richard Glossip’s scheduled execution in September has also put DOC officials in the hot seat.

In federal court, Glossip’s attorneys have put a challenge against Oklahoma’s execution process on hold while the AG investigates how the wrong drug – potassium acetate – was used on an inmate in January and almost used again on Glossip.

“The implementation of the death penalty in Oklahoma, or anywhere else frankly, it puts too much pressure on the system," said attorney Mike Turpen. "We can’t get it right. You can’t get it right legally, you can't get it right logistically, and all that is so unfair to the victims’ families."

Former AG and district attorney Mike Turpen has sent offenders to death row, but now he thinks lawmakers should consider abolishing the death penalty in our state after all the recent problems.

“For the corrections officials to be thrown right in the middle of this, I’m going to solve their problem - no more death penalty,” Turpen said.

Pruitt wants to put DOC officials in front of a grand jury to answer questions about mistakes at the state pen, most recently when DOC said the pharmacy sent them the wrong drug, resulting in a fourth stay of execution for Glossip.

Our taxpayer dollars will pay for DOC’s attorney.

The agency has hired former AG Drew Edmondson.

Thursday, Edmondson asked a judge to void Pruitt’s subpoenas.

Edmondson told NewsChannel 4 a grand jury shouldn’t be involved because officials have not been accused of a crime.

Pruitt said he’ll hand over the results of his investigation to the death row inmates’ attorneys, then he said he won’t seek an execution date until at least 150 days after that, so it will be sometime in the spring when executions could resume in Oklahoma.