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June 3, 2014

Probe of Lockett execution expected to wrap up soon

McALESTER — The commissioner of public safety said Friday evening that he expects the investigation into the execution of Clayton Lockett to wrap up in a matter of weeks.

In a statement released by Gov. Mary Fallin’s office, Commissioner Michael C. Thompson said his team has “made tremendous progress” in the investigation into the prolonged execution on April 29.

“We are close to concluding interviews of all key individuals and compiling our findings while we await the results of the autopsy,” Thompson said. “We are striving to ensure that when we turn our findings over to the governor, she will have a complete, accurate and unbiased summary of our investigation in addition to our recommendations. The findings of the report will be made public when it is turned over to the governor.”

Fallin tapped Thompson to head up the investigation after prison officials halted the execution of Lockett, 38, when a new drug combination left him writhing and clenching his teeth in apparent pain before he died of an apparent heart attack.

A medical examiner in Dallas is conducting the autopsy to determine the cause of death.

Critics have questioned whether Thompson, as a member of  Fallin’s cabinet, can deliver an independent, unbiased investigation.

Lockett was one of two inmates set to die in a rare double-execution. The second inmate, Charles Warner, was granted a stay following the issues with Lockett’s death.

The state has said it plans to halt all executions until the investigation is complete.

Initially officials predicted that that investigation could take months, and as a result all executions were stayed until November.

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