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Oklahoma governor promises 'thorough' review of apparently botched execution

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin says Clayton Lockett had "his day in court."

By
Frances Burns
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (UPI/Pete Marovich/Pool)
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (UPI/Pete Marovich/Pool) | License Photo

OKLAHOMA CITY, April 30 (UPI) -- The apparently botched execution of Clayton Lockett will be thoroughly reviewed, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin promised Wednesday.

At a news conference, Fallin said the Department of Corrections will be in charge of the review. She said the information to be gathered includes the cause of Lockett's death as determined by a pathologist and whether the correct protocols were followed Tuesday night.

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“I expect the review process to be deliberate, to be thorough, and it will be the first step in evaluating our state’s execution protocols,” Fallin said.

Lockett, who was sentenced to death for killing a 19-year-old woman during a botched home invasion in 1999, died Tuesday night. While the execution was scheduled for 6 p.m., he was not pronounced dead until 8:06 p.m., and observers said they saw him lift his head and try to talk minutes after doctors had said he was unconscious.

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Oklahoma, like other states, has been struggling to obtain execution drugs because pharmaceutical companies have banned their products from being used. Lockett's execution was postponed for a week by the state Supreme Court because of a legal challenge to Oklahoma's law protecting the identity of compounding pharmacies.

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After Lockett's death, Fallin postponed the execution of Charles Warner for at least two weeks. Warner had been scheduled to die at 8 p.m. for raping and killing his girlfriend's 11-month-old daughter in 1997.

Fallin refused to answer reporters' questions. She said that Oklahoma needs to make sure that its protocols for executions are as good as they can be but that she believes the system is working.

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“He had his day in court,” Fallin said. “I believe the legal process worked. I believe the death penalty is an appropriate response and punishment.”

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