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MADP Responds to Botched Oklahoma Execution

In response to last night’s botched execution in the state of Oklahoma, MADP has issued the following statement. More actions for our members will follow soon.

MADP Denounces Botched Execution in Oklahoma Russell Bucklew’s medical condition place him at severe risk for a botched execution

Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty joins with death penalty opponents across the nation today in denouncing the botched execution of Clayton Lockett that took place last night in Oklahoma and renews our call to end executions.

According to witnesses Mr. Lockett writhed and convulsed on the gurney, shaking uncontrollably after he was sedated. After more than 40 minutes the inmate was declared dead from a heart attack. This was the first of a planned double execution during the evening. The execution of Charles Warner was postponed. An investigation has been ordered by the Governor of Oklahoma, Mary Fallin.

“The fear of botched executions are increasing as states shroud their execution procedures in secret and scramble to obtain drugs from whatever source is available,” states Rita Linhardt, Chair of the Board for Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. “Like Oklahoma, Missouri relies on unknown drugs and untested protocols. It is inevitable that another botched execution will take place in Missouri.”

Missouri has carried out six executions in the last six months with the execution of Russell Bucklew scheduled for May 21. A serious risk for a botched execution exists in this case. From infancy Mr. Bucklew has suffered from a rare and severe form of cavernous hemangioma. This lifelong condition is characterized by weak, malformed vessels that even under normal conditions can easily rupture.

“Independent medical experts who have reviewed Mr. Bucklew’s records believe he could experience hemorrhaging during an execution or suffer a prolonged, excruciating execution because the drugs did not flow properly,” stated Linhardt. “It is unknown if the State of Missouri has done anything to review Mr. Bucklew’s condition or minimize risks in an execution.”

Missouri’s recent execution practices have been surrounded in controversy. Last fall Missouri planned to use the anesthetic propofol as its lethal drug until a threatened boycott by the European Union caused Governor Nixon to order the Department of Corrections to find a new drug. Missouri then tried to keep secret that it was obtaining pentobarbital from a compounding pharmacy in Oklahoma. After a public outcry that the pharmacy was selling the drug without a Missouri license and without any oversight of the drug’s purity, the Oklahoma pharmacy stopped selling the drug to Missouri in February. Since that time Missouri has been obtaining its lethal injection drugs from an unidentified compounding pharmacy in the state.

“The botched execution last night in Oklahoma and the one in Ohio in January holds important lessons for our state,” states Linhardt. “Missouri should immediately suspend all executions pending a full disclosure by the State of its protocols and its drug. There is no guarantee that executions in our state will be carried out in a constitutional, humane manner.”

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