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Van Treese Family Opens Up About Glossip Execution Stay

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Potassium chloride is the only drug version of a potassium chemical that is written in the state’s protocol for executions. The chemical is used as the final, lethal step of the state’s three step process. Potassium chloride is the only drug version of a potassium chemical that is written in the state’s protocol for executions. The chemical is used as the final, lethal step of the state’s three step process.

After a day of silence, the family of Barry Van Treese opened up Thursday night about the mishap in the state of Oklahoma’s execution of the man convicted of his murder, Richard Glossip.

Glossip was set to be put to death by lethal injection on Wednesday. However, the state received potassium acetate instead of potassium chloride. Potassium chloride is the only drug version of a potassium chemical that is written in the state’s protocol for executions. The chemical is used as the final, lethal step of the state’s three step process.

The Van Treese family said by text message on Thursday they are angry over how the events of the near-execution unfolded. They included in their statement they were the last to be told of the drug problem and they are blaming the Department of Corrections.

10/2/2015 Related Story: Oklahoma Executions Put On Hold Following Drug Mix-up

"We can't help but suspect that the DOC was hoping that the [US Supreme Court] would issue a stay so they would be off the hook," the statement said in reference to the DOC having to disclose it received the wrong drug.

“When I was informed that this was a different name of drug, the protocol worked. I said, 'Stop.' that's what the protocol is supposed to do,” Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton said Thursday. But the Van Treese family says they don't think that's actually the case. 

"We have a suspicion that the drug mix up was known about before we arrived at the prison at 12:00 [p.m.] and went through the admission/entry process," the family said.

"Seventeen of us were left sitting in a 10 [by] 10 room for 3[-plus] hours, along with four staff members, and then to be informed almost an hour after the [US Supreme Court] had issued their decision..." the statement read.

Despite their anger and suspicion the family says they support Gov. Mary Fallin’s decision to halt the execution, although they said they were not looking forward to another round of politically charged legal fights.

 "[The] appeals process on [Glossip's] behalf only further delays final resolution of an 18-year-old case and causes cruel and unusual punishment for [the Van Treese] family..." they said.

The Oklahoma ACLU has said both Glossip and the Van Treese family may have legal grounds to sue the state.

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