A death row inmate in Oklahoma suffered a prolonged execution after the lethal injection failed to work as expected.
Clayton Lockett, 38 suffered a vein collapse, which prevented the cocktail of three drugs from taking their full effect.
The execution was halted and prison officials pulled the curtain across to prevent witnesses seeing Lockett’s discomfort.
The law demands witnesses are present to see the sentence carried out:
“At he was still lifting his shoulders and head grimacing. And he appeared to be in distress,“said one.
“So from 6:23, the execution started. 6:39 is when they closed the curtains on us. A 16-minute process to watch,” recounted another.
Lockett eventually died of a heart attack.
Charles Warner was due to be put to death two hours latter in the same room, but following the controversy his execution has been postponed for 14 days.
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin said the states’ execution procedurers are to be reviewed.
Lockett was sentenced to death for the shooting of a 19-year-old woman in 1999. Warner was convicted of the rape and murder of an 11-month-old girl in 1997.
The two men previously challenged the state to reveal the names of the companies that supply the lethal drugs, which is forbidden under law.
Oklahoma says the law is necessary to protect suppliers from harassment and legal action.