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Oklahoma imposes six-month moratorium on executions

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Oklahoma’s top appeals court agreed Thursday to halt all executions in the south-central U.S. state for six months, after a botched lethal injection last week triggered accusations of torture.

Clayton Lockett’s execution, in which the convicted murderer and rapist died 43 minutes after the start of the lethal injection and appeared in significant pain, renewed fierce debate over the death penalty in the United States.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals set for Nov. 13 the execution of Charles Warner, who had originally been scheduled to be put to death the same evening as Lockett.

After Lockett’s bungled execution, that of Warner, sentenced to death for the rape and murder of his girlfriend’s 11-month-old baby, was first delayed until May 13.

The attorney general’s office backed the court’s decision, saying in a filing that “the state will not object to a 180-day stay to allow completion of (Oklahoma Public Safety Department) Commissioner Michael C. Thompson’s investigation.”

However, it called “unwarranted” an indefinite stay, as requested by the state corrections director.

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The court also ordered Oklahoma authorities to keep it informed of the investigation and any change to the execution protocol. Lockett was put to death with an untested three-drug protocol on April 29.

“No one wants to see another prolonged, botched execution take place,” Warner’s attorneys said.

“Before any new execution can take place, Oklahoma needs ample time to review and revise its protocol and fully train its staff,” lawyers Susanna Gattoni and Seth Day added in a statement.

“The extreme secrecy surrounding lethal injection that led to Mr Lockett’s agonizing death must be replaced with transparency in order to ensure that executions are legal and humane.”

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President Barack Obama, who backs the death penalty for heinous crimes, has condemned the “deeply troubling” incident.

He has ordered Attorney General Eric Holder, who is seeking the death penalty in the Boston Marathon bombings case, to conduct a policy review of how the death penalty is applied in the United States.

But Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin defended Lockett’s “lawful execution,” stressing how odious his crime had been.

The Republican governor did, however, acknowledge that “the process of death by lethal injection took too long,” and ordered an investigation and a review of the procedure.

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Oklahoma Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton has recommended a “comprehensive review of the execution protocol,” asking for a suspension of executions to conduct the probe.

Patton revealed that prior to his execution, a defiant Lockett had been tasered and had also deliberately cut his arm.

Patton also said that technicians had found it difficult to find a vein to insert the lethal drugs in and eventually found a point in the groin.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]

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Virginia Democrats are so fired up that the party chair had to scold them: ‘Sit down — be quiet’

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Democrats in Virginia are fired up as they gathered in Richmond for their annual gala dinner.

Political analysts believe the Democratic Party of Virginia has a good chance to win control of the state legislature in 2019's election, before setting their sights on the Commonwealth continuing its recent trend of voting Democratic in presidential elections.

Patrick Wilson, a political reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, attended the event.

He reported that Democrats were so "noisy" that it was hard to hear the speakers, which include presidential candidates Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

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‘Everyone knows what to expect’ at Trump’s Amway Center re-election kickoff

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Donald Trump considers himself a legendary salesman, but can he really sell America on giving him four more drama-filled years at the White House?

Tuesday, he'll make his big pitch.

The 2020 reelection kickoff rally is being held in Orlando, Florida and campaign operations chief Michael Glassner says the "historic" event "has already generated tens of thousands of ticketing requests."

There's little mystery about how the night will go down.

Expect Trump, the self-promoting hero of his ghost-written book "The Art of the Deal," to claim the US economy is richer, the military stronger, and the country more respected than ever in history.

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Florida man’s own family blasts him after he was arrested for racist threats: ‘This isn’t how we were raised’

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After a Florida man was arrested for trying to start a race war, a member of his own family slammed his values.

"A Florida man’s social media posts that threatened violence against African-Americans, Jews and homosexuals and that urged his followers to start a race war netted him a $1 million bond," the Miami Herald reported Saturday. "And then there’s another $100,000 bond he would have to pay to get out of Lee County Jail because of a weapons charge."

Joshua Leff, 40, is being held in the Lee County Jail.

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