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Chicken-Fried News: Poor execution

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If you’re not going to do something well, don’t do it at all. Maybe that should be the motto for the state’s execution team, based on more than 40,000 pages of documents released by Gov. Mary Fallin’s office in the wake of the executions of Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner, Tulsa World and The Oklahoman recently reported.

Problems with Lockett’s attempted execution forced a postponement of Warner’s, which was originally planned for the same day. Warner was later executed Jan. 15.

Now we know more about errors made in both executions.

In Lockett’s case, the technician at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester was ill-equipped for the job due to his inexperience and a lack of correct needles to administer the IV. The execution was abandoned after 43 minutes, in which time, according to Tulsa World reports, Lockett rose from the gurney and spoke when he was supposed to be unconscious. Lockett died of a heart attack.

Meanwhile, Fallin was attending a Thunder game, the newspaper reported.

Nine months later, Warner’s execution proceeded with an unapproved drug in the three-drug cocktail: potassium acetate instead of potassium chloride.

That mix-up nearly occurred again Sept. 30, the day Richard Glossip was set to die by lethal injection, The Oklahoman reported.

The debate over the existence of the death penalty rages on, but we should all agree that if Oklahoma is intent on killing prisoners, at the very least, officials should follow the guidelines they created for how to do it.

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