Inmate Executed in Arizona Takes Two Hours to Die After Injection


Joseph Wood reportedly gasped for more than an hour tonight during his execution at the Arizona State Prison Complex in Florence, Arizona.

Wood died one hour and 57 minutes after his lethal injection started.

An Associated Press reporter, who watched the execution, said that Wood gasped more than 600 times for an hour and 40 minutes.

"I counted about 640 times he gasped," Michael Kiefer added, a reporter for The Arizona Republic. "I just know it was not efficient. It took a long time."

A reporter for Fox 10 News, Troy Hayden, said it was "very disturbing to watch... like a fish on shore gulping for air."

“One thing is certain, however, inmate Wood died in a lawful manner and by eyewitness and medical accounts he did not suffer,” said Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R). “This is in stark contrast to the gruesome, vicious suffering that he inflicted on his two victims, and the lifetime of suffering he has caused their family.”

However, Gov. Brewer is also calling for a review of her state's "lawful" execution process.

“I’ve witnessed a number of executions before and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Wood’s attorney Dale Baich told The Washington Post. “Nor has an execution that I observed taken this long.”

Richard Brown, the brother-in-law of Debbie Dietz, who was killed by Wood in 1989, countered, "This man conducted a horrific murder and you guys are going, let's worry about the drugs. Why didn't they give him a bullet, why didn't we give him Drano?"

Wood was convicted in 1991 of fatally shooting Dietz and her father, Gene Dietz, in Tucson, Arizona.

According to the Daily Mail:

“Wood and Dietz had a tumultuous relationship in which he periodically assaulted her. Dietz tried to end their relationship and got an order of protection against Wood.

“On the day of the shooting, Wood went to the auto shop and waited for Dietz's father, who disapproved of his daughter's relationship with Wood, to get off the phone. Once the father hung up, Wood pulled out a revolver, shot him in the chest and then smiled.

“Wood then turned his attention toward Debra Dietz, who was trying to telephone for help. 

"Wood grabbed her by the neck and put his gun to her chest. She pleaded with him to spare her life. An employee heard Wood say, 'I told you I was going to do it, I have to kill you.' He then called her an expletive and fired two shots in her chest.”

Before he was executed, Wood said, "I take comfort knowing today my pain stops, and I said a prayer that on this or any other day you may find peace in all of your hearts and may God forgive you all."

Arizona reportedly uses the sedative midazolam and painkiller hydromorphone, the same drugs that were used in a botched Ohio execution.

Many states, such as Arizona, have refused to reveal the pharmacies that supply lethal injection drugs.

Sources: Associated Press, The Arizona Republic, The Washington Post,


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