Testimony continues in push to halt executions in Oklahoma

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Testimony continued Thursday in the effort to temporarily stop all executions in Oklahoma.

Twenty-one death row inmates are suing the state after the botched execution of convicted killer Clayton Lockett back in April.

There’s continued controversy behind the drug cocktail.

A big part of witness testimony Thursday was the drug used to sedate Lockett.

He regained consciousness on the table.

A DOC official testified that as of right now, other drugs proven to sedate inmates in the past are no longer available.

The plaintiffs also pointed out that no one involved in Lockett’s execution was ever disciplined, and would likely be involved in future executions.

DOC officials testified Thursday about the improvements they’ve made to the execution chamber after Clayton Lockett’s execution.

They’ve added cameras inside the chamber so medical personnel can monitor the offender from another room, and they’ve beefed up the restraints on the bed.

But the plaintiffs’ concern is on the drugs, most specifically, the ones that sedate the offenders.

A new drug called Midazolam was used on Lockett, and that’s what caused big problems.

“Given the eyewitness testimony that the scene was a bloody mess, that Mr. Lockett writhed around, that he seemed to raise up when the second and third drug were administered, that to me says he was at least partially conscious during this,”
lawyer Ed Blau said.

The plaintiffs – 21 inmates seeking an injunction – say that’s cruel and unusual punishment.

The problem is, DOC says its options are limited.

Midazolam was used because the makers of previous sedation drugs don’t want them used for capital punishment.

Thursday, a pharmacist testified he wouldn’t even use Midazolam to sedate a patient for surgery.

The state pen warden previously said the Attorney General’s office and DOC chose the new drug.

A judge will have to decide whether this temporary injunction goes to a full hearing, but legal analysts say it’s unlikely a permanent restraining order against executions will happen in Oklahoma.

Testimony continues Friday.

The judge will make his decision whether to grant the temporary injunction on Monday.

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