Oklahoma officials have botched the lethal injection of an inmate — leaving him gasping and twitching in agony until he died of a massive heart attack 43 minutes after the execution began.
Convicted murderer Clayton Lockett’s execution involved the use of a new cocktail of drugs that included the sedative midazolam as the first in a three-drug combination. But the drugs did not have the intended effect.
Mr Lockett grimaced, tensed his body and raised his head and chest several times during the three-minute period that reporters were permitted to watch, NewsOklahoma reports.
Local media present said Mr Lockett sat up and said “something’s wrong” 14 minutes into the procedure.
According to a New York Times report, the method of administration, rather than the drugs themselves, appeared to have failed.
The state’s Corrective Services director Robert Patton said he halted Lockett’s execution about 20 minutes after the first drug was administered.
“We’ve had a vein failure, in which the chemicals did not make it into the offender,” Mr Patton told reporters.
The planned execution of a second inmate later on Tuesday was postponed.
It was to be Oklahoma’s first double execution in nearly 80 years.