Monday, 28 May 2007

Was Arizona’s execution earlier this week botched too?

Was Arizona’s execution earlier this week botched too?

Attention has been riveted to the horribly botched “execution” of Christopher Newton. The execution team took over an hour to fine a vein to suitable enough to kill Newton. In the sixteen minutes he took to die “Newton’s stomach heaved, his chin quivered and twitched, and his body twice mildly convulsed within its restraints. Records show that other Ohio inmates died within an average of 7.5 minutes.” Ohio DoC is saying the execution was not a botch (and therefore will do no follow-up, such as an autopsy) , despite experts opinions to the contrary that it was likely a botch with at least the paralytic agent not having been delivered in sufficient dosage. [ODPI has more]

It appears that the Arizona execution of Robert Comer also experienced unanticipated problems, including a possible cut-down procedure. A poster was kind enough to note, despite very little press coverage:

[I]n Arizona, Comer’s execution may have been botched. They used a catheter in the groin, which is not described in the protocol, and which could have been the result of a painful medical “cut-down” procedure (where a prison guard, apparantly, cuts into the groin to gain access to femoral vein and then clamps a catheter onto the vein).

We won’t know the extent of the problems there, though, because Arizona — incredibly — lays a sheet over the inmate up to the neck before allowing the witnesses to see him. Comer could have been stuck as many times, and Arizona would have covered it up — literally.

The last lethal injection with a groin insertion that I recall is Benny Demps in Florida.

[see also HRW: So Long As They Die: Lethal Injection in the United States & this AP report]

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