OK Executions Delayed After State Runs Out Of Lethal Drugs
OKLAHOMA CITY - The state has run out of the drugs needed for lethal injections and now two executions, including one this week, will not take place as scheduled.
An Oklahoma judge issued an order Tuesday afternoon saying he has no confidence the state can get the necessary drugs before the scheduled executions are to be carried out.
Clayton Lockett was supposed to be executed on Thursday for shooting and burying 19-year-old Stephanie Neiman alive. Charles Warner was to be put to death on March 27 for raping and killing his girlfriend's 11-month-old daughter.
But now the state doesn't have the drugs necessary to carry out the executions.
"At present time, the state has pursued every feasible option to obtain the necessary execution drugs. This has been nothing short of a Herculean effort," wrote an assistant attorney general in a court brief on Monday.
The shortage of drugs came to light as attorneys representing Lockett and Warner are challenging the Oklahoma statute that allows the state to keep secret how they get the lethal injection drugs.
"We're very pleased that we have more time for the civil court to determine the case and if the statute is constitutional," said Susanna Gattoni, who is representing Lockett and Warner.
Without the lawsuit, Gattoni believes the state would have used something else to carry out the death sentences.
"Whether or not the state of Oklahoma, the Department of Corrections would have informed our clients what they were using in place we don't know," Gattoni said.
In response, Attorney General Scott Pruitt said "I am upset that justice is once again delayed for Stephanie Neiman, young Adrianna Waller and their families. This delay is not about the facts of the case, nor does it seek to overturn the convictions of these two murderers. Instead, it's about outside forces employing threats, intimidation and coercion to keep the State of Oklahoma from imposing the punishment handed down for these heinous crimes. But rest assured, accountability for these murders will occur. It's not a matter of if these punishments will be carried out, but it is only a matter of when. We owe it to the victims, to their families and to the juries who imposed these sentences for our criminal justice system to work efficiently, truthfully and without delay."
A hearing on the civil case is scheduled for next Wednesday.