A lot can be accomplished within that time frame. It’s a one-way trip up Interstate 79 to Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. It’s an hour-long television program, if you fast forward the commercials. You can walk two miles at a leisurely pace.
That’s how long it took the state of Oklahoma to put Clayton Lockett to death, using an experimental cocktail of drugs. Experimental because Europe, where we’ve been securing drugs to put convicted killers to death, isn’t providing it to us anymore because of a moral disagreement over the death penalty.
So some are saying the 43 minutes it took Lockett to die was inhumane. There is certain to be some kind of civil lawsuit about the method used and it violating the constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment. It will probably go to the U.S. Supreme Court, and whatever decision is made will affect the 32 states where the death penalty is currently legal and the approximately 3,000 prisoners awaiting execution across the country.
So we’re not going to weigh in on that debate just yet. We’ll leave it to the legal system to handle it.
But we do want to correct a wrong we feel has been done by many, many media outlets, including The Associated Press.
The reason Lockett was sentenced to death was because he was involved in a kidnapping and murder incident that happened almost 15 years ago — that much was reported following the “botched” execution.
But the murder victim had a name: Stephanie Neiman. Stephanie graduated from high school just two weeks before her death. On the night of June 3, 1999, she was driving her friend home. The timing was unfortunate — the two arrived at her friend’s home just as three men were beating a debt out of one of the residents there in front of his 9-month-old son. The friend went inside and was physically forced and threatened to call for Stephanie to come into the house.
While inside, Stephanie was forced to watch as her friend was raped by the three men. The man who owed the debt was beaten more. And then the three men beat Stephanie because she wouldn’t give up the keys to her pickup truck. They bound her hands and feet with duct tape, put her in the truck and drove down a country road. She wouldn’t promise not to call the police if they let her go, so Lockett decided to kill her. Bound, Stephanie watched as Lockett’s accomplice dug a shallow grave for 20 minutes. The three made her stand in that hole in the ground and then Lockett shot her with a shotgun.
She didn’t die. She pleaded with them to stop and help her. To let her live. She called out “God ... please ... please!” Lockett pulled the trigger again, but the gun jammed. He walked to the truck, and for several minutes attempted to fix the jammed gun. His two accomplices joked about how tough Stephanie was during that time.
Lockett returned and fired a second time.
Stephanie didn’t die.
Annoyed, Lockett ordered the men to bury her anyway. So she lay in a shallow grave, struggling for breath as her mouth and nose and lungs filled with dirt. No one really knows how long she was in that shallow grave — so shallow that the lead investigator said her feet were still exposed — until her heart stopped beating and her brain stopped working. No one was there. She was left to die alone.
The events leading up to Stephanie’s death took place over the course of hours, not minutes.
So last Tuesday, when Lockett lived for 43 minutes after the first injection into his vein in a well-lit room and under sanitary conditions, monitored by trained health professionals, when the execution was halted after his veins ruptured and there wasn’t enough medication left to cause his death and then Lockett died of a heart attack anyway, the national media ran away with the story.
But as fast as they ran, they forgot to tell the world about Lockett’s victim, the woman he admitted to police and then to the courts that he killed on that spring night in 1999.
Stephanie. Stephanie Neiman.
Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives
It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.
Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely
The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.
- Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer
Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life
Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.
COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?
Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.
Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions
This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Soup Opera in need of your support again this time of year
It’s happening again.
It usually always happens about this time each year. Sometimes it’s a little earlier and sometimes a little later.
But Soup Opera executive director Shelia Tennant knows it will come — usually in July. And she’s never that surprised about it.
County honors men who gave all in helping their community
The next time you’re driving in the Rivesville area, you might notice new signs on two of the area’s bridges.
Those signs, which bear the names of Alex Angelino and Denzil O. Lockard, were unveiled Saturday in honor of the men whose names they display, two men who died while serving their communities.
The bridge on U.S. 19 over Paw Paw Creek was named to honor Lockard, while the bridge on U.S. 19 over Pharaoh Run Creek was named to honor Angelino. Lockard, a former Rivesville police chief, died in 1958 at the age of 48 while directing traffic. Angelino, a Rivesville firefighter, died at the age of 43 of a heart attack while fighting a fire in 1966.
State must learn to keep costs down and perform more efficiently on less
The West Virginia state government began its budget year last Tuesday with a small surplus of $40 million — less than 1 percent of its annual tax revenues — thanks only to dipping into its savings.
Let’s not do that again.
Long-range vision with transportation has been made to be thing of proud past
Last week’s closure of Fairmont’s Fourth Street Bridge is a symbol of a problem that must be fixed.
The United States should be proud of the vision its leaders once displayed to address the country’s transportation needs.
Back in 1954, for example, President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced his goal of an interstate highway system — something that transformed the country.
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- Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives