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.
State must convince parents, schools about benefits of Common Core
It’s always nice to have a little bit of background information before diving into something new.
So we have to agree with West Virginia Board of Education president Gayle Manchin when she says the state should have done a better job of explaining Common Core standards when they were first introduced.
Those standards, part of a national educational initiative that sets learning goals designed to prepare students in kindergarten through 12th grade for college and career, will be fully implemented in every West Virginia school district next month.
Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway
U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.
United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project
The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.
COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard
I love to talk to readers.
I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.
Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial
NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.
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.
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- State must convince parents, schools about benefits of Common Core