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Wrong drug used in Oklahoma execution

An execution was called off last week after discovery an incorrect drug may have been used in a January execution.

By Ed Adamczyk

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- Autopsy reports indicate Oklahoma corrections officials used the wrong drug in the execution of Charles Warner, who complained of a burning sensation after its administration.

Autopsy information indicated Warner's execution involved the use of potassium acetate and not potassium chloride, which called for in the state's lethal injection protocol.

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The same incorrect drug was delivered to corrections officials for use in the planned Sept. 30 execution of Richard Glossip. Gov. Mary Fallin called off Glossip's execution with a last-minute indefinite stay after she learned of the discrepancy.

Oklahoma's lethal injection protocol involves the injection of three drugs: the sedative midazolam; a paralytic, vecuronium bromide; and a paralytic; and potassium chloride, which stops the heart. It does not include potassium acetate.

RELATED Oklahoma governor halts Glossip execution at last minute over drug concerns

After the discovery of the incorrect drug, state Attorney General Scott Pruitt received approval from the state Court of Criminal Appeals to delay the execution of Glossip and two others scheduled for October to give the state time to investigate the matter.

Richard Patton, director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, said the vendor of the drugs informed him potassium acetate and potassium chloride are "medically interchangeable," but nonetheless asked Fallin to postpone Glossip's execution.

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The controversy comes as Oklahoma -- under fire for a botched execution in 2014 -- has become the focus of the capital punishment issue in the United States.

Dale Baich, attorney for Warner and Glossip, said in a statement, "We cannot trust Oklahoma to get it right or to tell the truth."

He said revelations about the use of potassium acetate "yet again raises serious questions about the ability of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections to carry out executions."

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