After the botched execution of an Oklahoma inmate Tuesday night, CNN’s Chris Cuomo spoke with a legal analyst on “New Day” Wednesday morning about the “moral dilemma” over disputed drug cocktails being used in lethal injection.
“There’s a paradox at the heart of it,” CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said. “We have to kill people, but we have to do it in a way that satisfies our rules. Now, there’s an inherent contradiction there, I think anyone can see. If you’re killing someone, obviously the safety and effectiveness of the drugs is not something you would ordinarily think about. But the FDA regulates all drugs including death penalty drugs.”
A shortage of pentobarbital in the U.S. has states turning to drug cocktails that have never been used before to execute prisoners.
“We want to kill but we want to feel good about it?” Cuomo said. “Is that what it is at the end of the day?”
“You know, that’s exactly right,” Toobin replied. “That’s why we struggle with this problem, because those goals seem to be inherently contradictory.”
“At the end of the day, it’s not about the method, it’s about the purpose,” Cuomo said. “Either you’re comfortable killing, or you’re not.”
Oklahoma inmate Clayton Lockett, 38, was given a secret drug mixture at 6:23 p.m. Tuesday. Minutes later he began convulsing. Witness heard him say “something’s wrong” at 6:37 p.m., KTUL reported.
“He was conscious and blinking, licking his lips even after the process began. He then began to seize,” tweeted Bailey Elise McBride, a reporter with The Associated Press.
Officials announced “vein failure” and said the chemicals didn’t enter his body in the way they were supposed to.
He was declared dead of a heart attack at 7:06 p.m.
The subsequent execution of another inmate, Charles Warner, was called off after the incident. Gov. Mary Fallin (R) issued a 14-day stay for Warner.
“I have asked the Department of Corrections to conduct a full review of Oklahoma’s execution procedures to determine what happened and why during this evening’s execution of Clayton Derrell Lockett,” said Fallin. “I have issued an executive order delaying the execution of Charles Frederick Warner for 14 days to allow for that review to be completed.”