'Gasping' executed inmate was given 15 injections

Prison records show executed inmate Joseph Wood received 15 doses of lethal injection before he died.

By Danielle Haynes

FLORENCE, Ariz., Aug. 2 (UPI) -- Joseph Wood, the Arizona inmate who took two hours to die last month during his execution, was given 15 doses of a new combination of lethal drugs, prison records indicate.

Wood was executed July 23 at the Arizona State Prison Complex in Florence, a process that should have taken 10 minutes, but lasted more than 2 hours.


The inmate's lawyer filed a stay of execution midway through the execution because his client was struggling to breathe during the process.

"The Arizona Department of Corrections began the execution of Joseph Rudolph Wood III at 1:52 p.m. (4:52 p.m. ET). At 1:57 p.m ADC reported that Mr. Wood was sedated, but at 2:02 he began to breathe. At 2:03 his mouth moved. Mr. Wood has continued to breathe since that time. He has been gasping and snorting for more than an hour," the motion read.

Wood was the second inmate to be given a combination of midazolam and hydromorphone. It took 25 minutes for the first inmate in Ohio to die.

Prison documents released Friday show executioners gave Wood 15 doses of the drug cocktail before he died.


Richard Dieter, who heads the Death Penalty Information Center, told CNN executions should be humane and constitutional and said Wood's went wrong.

"Instead of applying that (single injection) and saying it didn't work, they kept applying doses," he said.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and state Sen. Ed Ableser, D-Ariz., called for an investigation into the incident. U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called the botched execution akin to torture.

Arizona's attorney general has temporarily halted the state's executions following the incident.

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