Gov. Fallin Calls For Independent Review After Botched Execution

Wednesday, April 30th 2014, 3:00 pm

Governor Mary Fallin is calling for an independent investigation into exactly what went wrong during Tuesday night's execution of Clayton Lockett.

Lockett was supposed to die of lethal injection, but instead died of a heart attack 40 minutes after the drug cocktail was injected into his arm. All this comes after months of legal challenges over the drugs used in the lethal injection. Wednesday Lockett's attorney says this is what they feared would happen.

Fallin said the legal system worked, the death penalty was appropriate, but more investigation needs to be done into the execution.

"We agree that an independent review of the Department of Corrections procedures would be effective and also appropriate," said Fallin during a press briefing Wednesday afternoon.

The Department of Public Safety will head the investigation that will include Lockett's cause of death conducted by an independent pathologist, whether the Department of Corrections followed current protocol for executions, and, if necessary, recommendations to improve protocol for future execution.  

4/30/2014 Related Story: Oklahoma Inmate Execution Halted, Dies From Heart Attack

"I think that's an essential step as we try to find out why Clayton Lockett's execution was so horribly botched," said Madeline Cohen Lockett's attorney immediately after the Governor's press conference.


"No further executions should be going through the state until all questions are answered and there's complete transparency of the drugs as well."

Fallin says she will stay the execution of Charles Warner, who was also supposed to be executed on Tuesday, until the review is complete and changes to protocol made. But she says it will happen.

"He committed a horrible crime of physical abuse, rape and murder of an 11-month-old baby," said Fallin. "His fellow Oklahomans have sentenced him to death and we expect that sentence to be carried out as required by law."

4/29/2014 Related Story: Oklahoma Inmate Whose Execution Was Halted Dies

A different attorney for Lockett said this afternoon, assigning a state agency to head the investigation is not the "independent" review they called for.

"Today Governor Fallin called for an 'independent review' of the botched execution of my client, Clayton Lockett, but she did not assign this duty to a neutral, third party with independent interests," said Dean Sanderford. 

"Instead, she has charged the Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety with the job. The DPS is a state agency, and its Commissioner reports to the Governor. As such, the review proposed by Governor Fallin would not be conducted by a neutral, independent entity." 

"In order to understand exactly what went wrong in last night's horrific execution, and restore any confidence in the execution process, the death of Clayton Lockett must be investigated by a truly independent organization, not a state employee or agency."

4/29/2014 Related Story: Victim's Family, Inmate's Attorney, Fallin, ACLU Statements Regarding Executions