Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Botched execution in Ohio

This morning -- just as we were posting the tongue-in-cheek entry about bringing back the firing squad and televising executions -- a botched execution was occuring in Ohio:

Clark executed after vein collapse causes lengthy delay
By Alan Johnson
The Columbus Dispatch
Tuesday, May 2, 2006 12:50 PM
LUCASVILLE, Ohio - "It don't work. It don't work," Joseph Clark said repeatedly in what he thought were his last moments alive as he lay on the lethal injection table.But he didn't die -- not right away.

For the first time since Ohio resumed capital punishment in 1999, problems with lethal injection delayed the execution of the Toledo murderer by an hour. Clark's vein collapsed or "blew out" after the process had started this morning at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility near Lucasville.

Clark, 57, was eventually executed at 11:26 a.m., but only after medical technicians struggled behind a closed curtain for about a half hour to find suitable veins to inject the deadly drugs.

Terry Collins, who took over Monday as director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, said he ordered the curtain closed to shield victim family witnesses and his staff from being watched while they tried to get the IV lines going.

"I absolutely believe I made the right call closing the curtain and I would do it again," Collins said later. However, he said the whole process will be reviewed.

Media witnesses heard what they described as "moaning, crying out and guttural noises" while technicians worked on Clark behind the closed curtain.

However, prison officials said he was not in any pain and eventually went to sleep just before the execution resumed.

Collins said he was in touch with Gov. Bob Taft's office several times during the delay. He also summoned Greg Trout, the department's chief legal counsel, to the Death House to confer with George Pappas, Clark's attorney.

The trio of drugs -- sodium pentothal, an anesthetic, pancuronium bromide, a muscle paralyzer, and potassium chloride, which stops respiration and the heart -- has been used in Ohio and 35 other states for several years.

However, legal challenges to the lethal injection process are pending in several states, as well as at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Opponents argue the drugs can leave a prisoner paralyzed, but suffering great pain as they are executed. They say that violates the U.S. Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

1 comment:

mike manning said...

Before you make it look like executions is bad why not get ahold of a family member of the victim. My brother david went through pure hell before he died.
joesph clarks death was alot easier
then davids. All I hear of is Botched executions. everybody acts like my brother just went to disneyland or something and that simply is not true. So tell me if your family member was killed it is ok to let that killer walk the streets to do this again possibly to another one of your family members? come on tell me.