The Times West Virginian

Headline News

May 8, 2014

Ex-warden blames prisoner for slow execution

(Continued)

McASLESTER, Oklahoma — However, Fallin has defended Lockett's execution as deserved punishment for the violent kidnapping, rape and murder in June 1999 that sent him to death row.

Warner's attorneys have requested the state issue a six-month moratorium on all executions pending an investigation being conducted by the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety into Lockett’s death.

In a timeline released by the Department of Corrections after Lockett’s execution, prison officials said he began the day by fighting corrections officers, forcing them to subdue him with a Taser. He used a piece of metal to cut his arms and refused food.

Medical professionals were unable to find a viable vein for the IV tube used to administer the lethal drugs anywhere but in Lockett's groin. Prison officials said that vein collapsed during the execution procedure. Lockett died more than 40 minutes after the drugs were first injected.

Workman said Lockett contributed to his own troubles by probably fasting and cutting himself to complicate the execution.

“The fact that they wasn’t able to get veins is an indication he probably wasn’t taking any liquid, possibly days up to the event," he said. "He was probably dehydrating himself.”

Prison policy prohibits officials from force-feeding offenders who fast in days leading to an execution, he said. In cutting himself, Lockett was either trying to lose blood or make it difficult for those conducting the execution to find a vein, Workman said.

Workman — now retired to a remote area of southeastern Oklahoma  — said the state shouldn't change its lethal injection procedures, despite the controversy surrounding last week's execution.

"I would look at the medication (dosage), but as far as the blown vein, he contributed to that," he said. "The thing about it is, (the drug) went through the muscle. It just took longer to accomplish because of that, but it accomplished its task. It would have been a lot quicker had it been in the vein.”

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