Gov. Fallin: Next inmate will not be executed until lethal injection review is complete

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Clayton Lockett, left, and Charles Warner, right, are suing the state over its lethal injection process.

UPDATE:  Oklahoma’s governor is addressing concerns Oklahoma’s next death row inmate, Charles Warner, could be executed next week, just 14 days after Clayton Lockett’s botched lethal injection.

Alex Weintz, a spokesman for Gov. Mary Fallin, told KFOR-TV today no executions will take place while the Oklahoma Department of Correction’s execution protocol is being reviewed.

The governor has not set a timeline for the review.

The investigation could take months and it is not expected to be completed by next week.

Oklahoma’s lethal injection cocktail and its procedures were questioned worldwide when Lockett appeared to writhe in pain, regain consciousness and speak during his April  29 execution.

The execution was called off before the procedure was complete but a doctor on hand said Lockett appeared to die of a heart attack 43 minutes after he was injected.

Warner, who is convicted of raping and murdering his roommate’s 11-month-old daughter, was scheduled to be executed just two hours after Lockett.

After learning of the botched execution, Gov. Fallin issued a 14-day stay for Warner.

The next day Gov. Fallin announced an investigation into Oklahoma’s execution protocol, stating no execution would take place until it was completed.

Warner’s attorneys filed an application for an additional six-month stay of execution Monday, citing Lockett’s execution and ongoing questions about the manufacturer of execution drugs, which is kept secret under state law.

According to court documents filed with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, despite Fallin’s statement, no state agency responded when Warner’s attorneys inquired about a new date of execution.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals is expected to respond to the application for the stay of execution Thursday.

“The governor has the authority to stay an execution for up to 60 days,” Alex Weintz said, a spokesman for the governor. “The Court of Criminal Appeals can also stay an execution. Regardless of who issues the stay, Charles Warner will not be executed until the review of DOC protocols is complete.”  

A shortage of drugs used under Oklahoma’s previous lethal injection protocol led to Lockett’s execution using a new drug cocktail and execution protocol never before used in Oklahoma. 

That same drug shortage, which spurred lawsuits in multiple states questioning the safety of execution drugs,  also drove the national government to issue a moratorium on all federal executions.

President Obama called the botched execution “deeply troubling” and asked the U.S. Department of Justice to issue its own analysis of state executions.

OKLAHOMA CITY – As investigators look into what caused Clayton Lockett’s execution to go awry, attorneys for Charles Warner are now concerned about their client.

Warner’s execution was scheduled for two hours after Lockett’s on April 29.

After the turn of events, officials issued a stay of execution for Warner for 14 days.

In addition to the 14 day stay, he has applied for a six month stay of execution from the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.

His attorneys wrote, “It is clear that the State of Oklahoma has no confidence that it can carry out an execution in a humane way.”

Now, his attorneys are wanting to know exactly what went wrong during Lockett’s execution so the same thing won’t happen during their client’s execution.

Defense attorneys have asked for the drugs that were used in Lockett’s execution, so they can have them tested.

On Friday, the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office released a letter and a sample of the drugs.

Click here for the AG’s death penalty drugs letter to counsel.

Officials say the drugs were purchased from the same manufacturer, at the same time and have the same expiration date.

In the past, the attorneys have questioned the state’s ability to keep the makers of the drugs secret.

They said they wanted to know the manufacturers so they could investigate the drugs’ ingredients and effectiveness.

On April 14, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt said, “Each of the drugs are now manufactured drugs and the questions that have been raised by the defense are mute. The executions should happen. The manufacturer that makes these drugs are all FDA-approved. The drugs they produce are all FDA-approved.”

Defense attorney Madeline Cohen was not satisfied with that answer.

“We want to know that the drugs that are being used to execute our clients are safe and effective and not going to result in a prolonged and torturous death that is unconstitutional,” Cohen argued at the time. “Just to give you an example, the Oklahoma protocol that’s being used called for a 50 mg to 100 ml concentration of Midazolam, and our research indicates there is no FDA-approved source of manufactured Midazolam in that concentration.”

The attorney general’s letter says they are releasing a sample of the drugs to be tested but adds the drugs degrade as time passes.

Warner was convicted of brutally raping and killing an 11-month-old child while her mother was running errands.

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