“…repeatedly gasped for one hour and 40 minutes before dying,,,,

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If that doesn’t stop America’s barbaric executions, I don’t know what will. Certainly the Supreme Court is pushing to enter the hall of shame.

At 1:52 p.m. Wednesday, one day after the United States Supreme Court overturned a stay of execution granted by a federal appeals court last Saturday, the execution of Joseph R. Wood III commenced.

But what would normally be a 10- to 15-minute procedure dragged on for nearly two hours, as Mr. Wood appeared repeatedly to gasp, according to witnesses… …NYT

Witnesses reported the long horror even as the state of Arizona claims the victim did not suffer. During the first hour of Wood’s long death, his lawyers phoned the federal district court and Justice Kennedy at the Supreme Court to tell them the victim was still alive. The courts didn’t respond before Wood finally died. The state of Arizona’s officials said he wasn’t gasping, just “snoring.”

Governor Jan Brewer expressed some concern. But not much. And standing behind all this was the highest court of the land.

Mr. Wood’s lawyers won a short-lived victory on Saturday, when the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, said his execution must be delayed until the state revealed the source of the drugs and specific details about the training of those carrying out the execution.

But on Tuesday, the United States Supreme Court overturned the stay. ...NYT


The barbarities are not limited to the state of Arizona. New Mexico is suffering from the same symptoms. This time it’s teenagers brutally beating the homeless.

The assailants kicked and beat them, Mr. Eskeets said, using their hands and whatever else they could find — a metal pipe, wooden sticks, cinder blocks. Mr. Eskeets eventually broke free and ran away. His cousin, whose name he said was Al Gorman, and another homeless man he knew only as Cowboy, ended up dead. The police said they had both been disfigured beyond recognition by the thrashing, which included having their heads smashed repeatedly with the cinder blocks.

Someone directed the officers to a stucco house on the other end of the lot, where a 15-year-old boy came to the door wearing shorts splattered in blood. Later, the boy told detectives that he, his 16-year-old half brother and their friend Alex Rios, 18, had taken turns assaulting the men. According to a criminal complaint, the teenagers had been “randomly attacking homeless people for over a year” and, by the 15-year-old’s estimates, they had beat up more than 50 since moving to the stucco house some months ago, as if it were a distraction, or a sport. ...NYT

Cross-posted from Prairie Weather

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  • slamfu

    It still amazes me that we can’t quickly and painlessly kill someone when we want to. We’ve been killing eachother for hundreds of thousands of years. It’s one of the things we know how to do better than just about any other. Moreover, we have science now. We can crack open someone’s chest and spend hours operating on their hearts and they don’t feel it. Yet we can’t manage a quick clean death planned years in advance. Wtf?

    Potassium Chloride burns. It actually leaves burns on human flesh when it makes contact. Ok, knowing that, how bout we find some other of the millions of lethal chemicals out there with which to do the friggin job. That sound you hear is me banging my head on the table once again over the unbelievable stupidity of the species I belong to.

  • sheknows

    I’m sorry, I don’t see any connection in these two stories. One is a botched state execution, the other just brutal, deliberate murders of innocent victims. The only connection I can draw is that the killers in both cases were psychopaths.

    There is just no excuse to botch a lethal injection. You cannot have too much lethal component.

  • yoopermoose

    It would probably be easier to figure out what the problem is if it wasn’t TOP SECRET what drugs are being used.

  • jdledell

    I don’t understand why we, as a society, feel we have to kill anyone. I understand we need justice, but do we, or the victims, feel any better if we kill the criminal vs life in prison? What am I missing? Admittedly, I never had a loved one killed in a criminal event but I just cannot see myself so full of revenge that I would need to have a human being killed. I find the death penalty useless as a deterrent and immoral.

  • rudi

    A link at Sully’s calls out the drug combination. Two Arizona reporters didn’t think the executed man snored.

    Wood was convicted in 1989 of double murder. His execution was the fourth problematic execution so far in 2014, making it already the worst year in the 37-year history of lethal injection. While previous years have seen several executions where states struggled to establish IV access, all of this year’s problematic executions have had issues after the drugs began to flow. First on January 9, Oklahoma executed Michael Wilson using three drugs, including a paralyzing agent. “I feel my whole body burning,” Wilson said out loud, shortly after the executioners began pushing the drugs into his arm.

    A week later, on January 16, Ohio executed Dennis McGuire using a new and untested two-drug combination of midazolam and hydromorphone—the same drug combination that Arizona would use to kill Wood. McGuire’s execution, at 25 minutes, was the longest in Ohio’s recent history—and witnesses said he gasped several times throughout.

    In April, Oklahoma carried out what may have been the worst lethal injection in U.S. history: Executioners pushed an IV catheter straight through a vein in Clayton Lockett’s groin, so that the drugs filled his tissue and not his bloodstream. As Lockett writhed and grimaced, the executioners closed the curtains and tried to call off the execution—but it was too late, and he eventually died of a heart attack.

    “Ohio is taking drugs that are normally used for things like a colonoscopy, and they’re giving massive overdoses to kill people,” Dr. Jonathan Groner, a professor of clinical surgery at The Ohio State University, told TIME. “They’re using them for their toxic side effects.” [Understanding the 10 Most Destructive Human Behaviors]

    May 3rd, 1995. Emmitt Foster. Missouri.
    Foster was not pronounced dead until 30 minutes after the flow of chemicals began into his arms. After seven minutes, the blinds were closed to prohibit the witnesses from viewing the scene. They were not reopened until three minutes after death pronounced. According to the coroner who pronounced death, the problem was caused by the tightness of the leather straps that bound Foster to the execution gurney. It was so tight that the flow of chemicals into the veins was restricted. It was several minutes after a prison worker finally loosened the strap that death was pronounced. The coroner entered the death chamber 20 minutes after the execution began, noticed the problem, and told the officials to loosen the strap so then the execution could proceed.

    May 3rd, 2000. Christina Marie Riggs, Arkansas.
    Christina Marie Riggs was the first woman to be executed in the state of Arkansas. The execution began 18 minutes late because of the difficulty in finding a suitable vein to insert the catheters into. She agreed to have the catheters placed in veins in her wrists. It is not unusual for the prisoner to have help staff in this way.

    February 5th 2006 Joseph Lewis Clark, Ohio.
    Prison staff took 22 minutes to initially insert a single IV line, but Clark’s vein collapsed 3-4 minutes later and he raised his head and cried out “It don’t work. It don’t work.” It took the execution team a further half hour to find another vein and he was eventually pronounced dead 90 minutes after the execution had begun.

    December 13th, 2006. Angel Nieves Diaz, Florida.
    Diaz took 34 minutes to die and required a second injection when the needle went through his vein rather than into it. His arms showed burn marks from the chemicals.

    September 15th, 2009 Rommel Broom Ohio.
    Technicians spent two hours trying to find a usable vein to inject into before Governor Strickland ordered a stay for Broom. He was reportedly traumatised by this. This led to Ohio adopting a single drug injection protocol with a back up procedure of two drugs given intra-muscularly if a vein cannot be found (see above).

  • rudi

    Hospira Position on Use of Our Products in Lethal Injections

    Hospira makes its products to enhance and save the lives of the patients we serve, and, therefore, we have always publicly objected to the use of any of our products in capital punishment.

    Consistent with our goal of providing our customers uninhibited access to our products while restricting distribution for unintended uses, Hospira has implemented a restricted distribution system under which Hospira and its distributors have ceased the direct sale to U.S. prison hospitals of products, specifically pancuronium bromide, potassium chloride, propofol, midazolam, hydromorphone, rocuronium bromide and vecuronium bromide, that have been part of, or are being considered by, some states for their lethal injection protocols.

    In the United States, these products are distributed through a complex, vast supply chain that is comprised of hundreds of primary and secondary distributors, the latter of which specialize in delivering product to the smallest and most remote clinics, in order that the medicines reach patients in need. Our distribution plan, which restricts the sale of these seven products for unintended uses, implements our publicly stated position against improper use of our products, and, most importantly, doesn’t stand in the way of patient access to these critical medications. However, due to the complex supply chain and the gray market in the United States, despite our efforts, Hospira cannot guarantee that a U.S. prison could not secure restricted products through other channels not under Hospira’s control.

    Hospira’s highest priority remains to provide unencumbered access to our medications for critically ill patients who rely on them every day. We continue to believe that efforts to influence policy on capital punishment are best directed at legislators who have the authority and ability to establish policy.
    About these products:

    Propofol, pancuronium bromide, midazolam, hydromorphone, rocuronium bromide, vecuronium bromide and potassium chloride are FDA-approved, medically necessary drugs administered by licensed medical professionals, thousands of times a day, in efforts to treat illness or save the lives of patients in hospitals around the world. They are well established within the medical community and continue to serve important needs in surgical procedures and other treatments.

    Hospira offers these products because they save or improve lives, and markets them solely for use as indicated in the product labeling.

  • I find the death penalty useless as a deterrent and immoral.

    I agree … but admit , real time, that if I walked in on certain behavior that directly ended the lives of my kids or wife, I would probably manually attempt to inflict the death penalty. And if I were armed:


  • DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

    JDLD, I would agree that lifetime in prison for murder is a life-draining sentence, dying day by day, year by year horrible. It is a lifetime of no succor, no love, no freedom to read or watch a movie of one’s choice at the trivial end, and a lifetime of regimentation whether you feel like it or not, gaining permission for the most trite endeavors, being a sexual mark, or predator, and from much of the non-prison culture a mark of Cain forever, even if a person were somehow paroled.

    Also JD, there is a book you might find interesting … Im sorry I dont remember the actual name… something like “the will to punish’ and it was by Menninger, I think Karl/Carl… from Menninger clinic. It was an interesting insight into why there is yet an aspect of human nature that is considered by the author to be an arrestment of development