Oklahoma agrees to stay of Charles Warner’s execution



A court in Oklahoma has agreed to a six-month stay of execution for a man who had been scheduled to die hours after officials mishandled the execution of another inmate.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals reset the execution date for Charles Warner’s death shortly after the state’s top layer agreed to the delay.

Last week, Clayton Lockett died of a heart attack after a botched injection.

Governor Mary Fallin has ordered a review of the execution process.

Warner and Lockett were scheduled to be killed on 29 April in a rare double execution.

Lockett went first, but the prison officials tasked with carrying out the execution had difficulty finding a suitable arm vein in which to inject the drugs, ultimately choosing one in his groin.

After the first of three lethal drugs was injected, Lockett began writhing and mumbling. The second and third drugs were injected, but the execution was halted after a doctor in the death chamber discovered the vein had collapsed.

Officials attempted to revive Lockett, but he died of a heart attack.

Warner’s execution was postponed.

‘Significant problems’

The following day Ms Fallin ordered an “independent review” of the state’s execution process and postponed Warner’s execution for two weeks.

His lawyers subsequently asked for a six-month stay, and Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s office on Thursday filed papers with an Oklahoma court saying the state did not object.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals agreed and reset the Warner’s execution date for 13 November.

US President Barack Obama denounced the blotched execution as “deeply troubling” and called for a national review of the death penalty.

“This situation in Oklahoma I think just highlights some of the significant problems,” Mr Obama told reporters on 2 May.

Americans should “ask ourselves some difficult and profound questions around these issues”, he added.

The problems surrounding Lockett’s execution come amid a wider debate over lethal injection and the death penalty and whether its use violates the US constitution’s protections against “cruel and unusual punishments”.

In particular, death penalty states are having increasing trouble obtaining the drugs for lethal injections, as European pharmaceutical firms which manufacture them have refused to supply them for executions.

Lockett was sentenced to death for the 1999 shooting of a 19-year-old woman. Warner was convicted for the 1997 murder and rape of an 11-month-old girl.



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