OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The director and chief of operations of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections testified during the fifth day of a federal trial that is challenging whether the state’s execution protocol is constitutional.
On Friday, Oklahoma Department of Corrections Director Scott Crow and Chief of Operations Justin Farris testified during the fifth day of testimony that is challenging whether Oklahoma’s three-drug lethal injection cocktail is a humane way to execute.
Doctors called to the stand by the attorneys for 26 death row inmates who filed the lawsuit have testified that the first drug in the cocktail, Midazolam, does not fully sedate the inmate, causing them to feel pain and suffering.
However, several doctors testifying for the state said in their opinion, it does create deep sedation, meaning the inmate does not feel any pain.
Farris testified first on Friday. He was in the execution chamber during the state’s four recent executions.
He said each time, the inmate almost immediately appeared to be asleep as Midazolam was being administered.
He also talked about a transcription error discovered in court earlier this week, where the drug Rocuronium Bromide was written on an EKG strip from Gilbert Postelle’s execution when it should have said Vecuronium Bromide.
Farris addressed the error. He said during his testimony that Rocuronium was written on a board during training, because it can be used as a substitute for Vecuronium. However, it’s not in the current protocol.
Crow addressed it as well, saying, “I was not at all happy about that.”
During Farris’ testimony, he also talked about the drug Pentobarbital.
Some of the inmates on the lawsuit have said they’d prefer to have Pentobarbital as the first drug in the cocktail instead of Midazolam.
Farris said the state has tried to get the drug but the company was not willing to sell it for the use of executions.
He said they also contacted several labs, including the University of Oklahoma, to see about creating the drug here in state. Farris said each time they were denied.
Testimony will continue Monday afternoon with Dr. Erven Yen, an anesthesiologist, who is testifying for the state.