McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

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April 30, 2014

Execution debacle spurs local conversation

McALESTER — McAlester area residents had mixed opinions about the botched execution that took place Tuesday night at Oklahoma State Penitentiary.

The first double execution since the 1937 had been set at OSP. But it soon turned into an execution debacle when condemned killer Clayton Lockett took more than 43 minutes to die.

Lockett’s execution was halted after about 20 minutes because of an issue with the injection site, according to Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton.

After he was deemed unconscious from the first of three drugs, Lockett was seen writhing on the gurney in the death chamber, execution witnesses said.

He later died of a heart attack, prison officials said.

The second execution, that of Charles F. Warner, has been stayed for two weeks.

Lockett was convicted of shooting a 19-year-old woman with a sawed-off shotgun and watching while she as she was buried alive; Warner was convicted of the rape and murder of an 11-month-old baby.

Locally, residents have their own opinions about the situation.

Coy Turney, 80, of McAlester, said Lockett should have been executed but the procedure should have been investigated further.

“I’m not worried that he suffered but it shouldn’t have happened like that,” Turney said Wednesday morning at McDonalds in Tandy Town.

“I want to know who is administering these drugs. Is it a doctor or a nurse?”

Another McDonalds diner also had questions about the execution. Sam Leak, 18, of Crowder, also said the execution took too long.

“It shouldn’t have taken that long; no one deserves to die like that.”

Joe Loftin, 74, of McAlester, said Lockett got what he deserved.

“They should have hung him, he caused so many people so much pain,” Loftin said while visiting the McAlester post office Wednesday morning.

Another area resident agreed that Tuesday’s execution was merciful compared to the death of his victim. Terri Scaff, 54, of McAlester, said she thought Lockett’s suffering was nothing compared to that of the people he hurt.

“I think (the way Lockett died) was proper,” Scaff said while leaving McAlester’s Wal-Mart. “It’s of very little consequence compared to the suffering he caused. But I do think the procedure of the drugs used in the execution needs to be investigated.”

Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jleflore@mcalesternews.com.

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