Washington : A death row inmate being executed in Arizona took nearly two hours to die, prison officials have said in the latest controversy to hit America’s lethal injection regime, reports AFP.
The attorney representing Joseph Wood, convicted in 1989 of the murders of his girlfriend and her father, said his client died an agonising death after being injected with a cocktail of medications that were supposed to quietly snuff out his life. “It took Joseph Wood two hours to die, and he gasped and struggled to breathe for about an hour and forty minutes,” attorney Dale Baich said after the execution in the southwestern US state.
Wood finally died at 3:49 pm local time – almost two hours after officials began injecting him with drugs that should have taken his life in a matter of minutes, prison officials said.
Baich said in a statement that Wood had been injected with a mixture of two drugs – midazolam combined with hydromorphone – an experimental cocktail that badly failed.
“Arizona appears to have joined several other states who have been responsible for an entirely preventable horror – a bungled execution,” the attorney wrote. So drawn-out was the procedure to execute Wood that his attorneys had sufficient time while it was going on to write up and file a court motion seeking to interrupt it. Capital punishment opponents said they were appalled by what they said was yet another shocking, “botched” US execution, and vowed to redouble their efforts to outlaw the practice, which already has been abandoned in most other countries. “Tonight, we learned that yet another American has been put to death in a shocking and cruel way. But the worst part about Joseph Wood’s botched execution was, it was entirely predictable and avoidable,” said Diann Rust-Tierney, executive director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.