Attorneys call for halt of botched AZ execution an hour after ‘lethal’ injection
UPDATE: The Daily Mail reported that Joseph Wood died at 3:49 p.m. local time, one hour and 57 minutes after his execution began.
In Arizona, the execution of a death row inmate by means of lethal injection went wrong Wednesday evening, prompting the prisoner’s attorneys to call for a halt to the procedure.
According to NBC News, attorneys for Joseph Wood, 55, said that their client was still alive an hour after he was injected with the chemicals meant to end his life.
Wood — who was convicted in 1989 in the shooting deaths of his girlfriend and her father — was still “gasping and snorting for more than an hour” after a mixture of the drugs midazolam and hydromorphone was injected into his system.
The same drug cocktail was used in an Ohio execution earlier this year in which the condemned prisoner took more than 25 minutes to die. Wood’s execution had been postponed several times due to appeals based on his legal team’s mistrust of the state’s competency to carry out an execution with the available drugs.
NBC reported that one of Wood’s attorneys said that the guillotine would be a more reliable and humane means of executing a prisoner than for state prisons to continue to experiment with lethal injection cocktails.
Many U.S. prisons are struggling to obtain these drugs because pharmaceutical companies have refused to continue to supply them on moral grounds. An Oklahoma prisoner named Clayton Lockett was set to die in April. His execution went badly wrong when the vein into which the drugs were being administered collapsed.
Lockett died en route to emergency care after prison officials and execution witnesses watched him struggle for more than 40 minutes after the administration of the execution drugs.