Botched Oklahoma Execution Raises Questions About Drug
The drug used in Tuesday night’s botched execution in Oklahoma – midazolam – is stored by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and can be used at any time in the state’s death penalty protocol, raising concerns among defense lawyers and others about the state’s secretive lethal injection process.
Documents obtained by defense attorneys and shared with The Texas Tribune show that TDCJ obtained midazolam last June, has approximately 30 vials of the drug and the expiration date for them is 2015.
Oklahoma authorities quickly shielded reporters attending the Tuesday night execution of Oklahoma inmate Clayton Lockett — the first of two scheduled executions there that night; the second was stayed — after the inmate was given the drug midazolam, the first of a new three-drug execution cocktail used in that state. A writhing Lockett died of a heart attack 43 minutes after the execution began. It is uncertain whether the drug or the way it was administered caused the problems. Earlier this year, in Ohio, an execution using the same drug took more than 20 minutes.