Autopsy shows wrong drug used in Charles Warner execution

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Charles Warner

Charles Warner

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OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Department of Corrections is dealing with yet another bombshell report.

An autopsy reveals DOC used the wrong drug during a January execution of a convicted murderer.

Charles Warner was convicted of raping and killing 11-month-old Adrianna Walker in 1997.

Earlier this year, he was put to death by lethal injection.

However, an autopsy report says the officials used potassium acetate instead of potassium chloride to kill Warner.

Potassium acetate is the same drug that was mistakenly received by officials last week for the execution of Richard Glossip, which led to a last-minute stay by Gov. Mary Fallin.

Potassium chloride, not potassium acetate, is required under the state’s execution protocol.

An autopsy report shows when Warner’s body was submitted to the medical examiner, with it also came the drugs used to kill him, including a “white box containing 12 empty vials labeled 20mL single dose potassium acetate injection.”

That’s the third and final drug that’s used to stop the heart.

“As you are aware, the Attorney General’s office has opened an inquiry. Out of respect for that inquiry we will not [be] making any comment at this time,” DOC Director Robert Patton said.

Richard Glossip was moments from the death chamber last Wednesday when Gov. Fallin issued a stay after a prison doctor discovered the drug mix-up.

Unlike Warner’s execution, this one did not go forward.

That night, we asked the governor whether potassium acetate had been used in previous executions, but she said then she wasn’t sure.

“That is one of the things that we’re going to wait and see,” Gov. Fallin said.

Gov. Mary Fallin issued the following statement on Thursday, Oct. 8:

“Last Wednesday, in the early afternoon on the day of Richard Glossip’s scheduled execution, the Department of Corrections consulted with the attorney general’s office and then called my office to say they had received a drug called potassium acetate instead of the drug potassium chloride.  This was the first time that myself or anyone in my office had been notified of potassium acetate.  According to the DOC staff, the doctor working with the agency as well as the pharmacist assured the DOC that the two drugs are medically interchangeable. The active ingredient is potassium which, when injected in large quantities, stops the heart.

“As an act of precaution, the attorney general and I decided to stop the execution. During the discussion of the delay of the execution it became apparent that DOC may have used potassium acetate in the execution of Charles Warner in January of this year. I was not aware nor was anyone in my office aware of that possibility until the day of Richard Glossip’s scheduled execution. The attorney general’s office is conducting an inquiry into the Warner execution and I am fully supportive of that inquiry. It is imperative that the attorney general obtain the information he needs to make sure justice is served competently and fairly.

“Moving forward, the attorney general, the Department of Corrections and my office will work cooperatively to address these issues. Until we have complete confidence in the system, we will delay any further executions.” – Governor Mary Fallin

Glossip’s execution has been stayed four times now, and the state’s highest appeals court has stayed all executions indefinitely while officials review their protocol again.

DOC Director Robert Patton would not comment on this today because he says he’s waiting on the attorney general’s findings.

Gov. Fallin did tell us today officials knew about the possibility that the wrong drug was used on Warner when that big delay was happening for Glossip in McAlester last week.

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