Oklahoma's Controversial Execution Draws National Attention; Murder Victim Not Forgotten

Oklahoma is in the international spotlight after a lethal injection went wrong, but the news of his death shouldn't drown out the story of his victim.

Wednesday, April 30th 2014, 11:32 pm

Oklahoma is in the international spotlight after a lethal injection went wrong. People around the world are taking sides, calling Clayton Lockett's death everything from karma to inhumane.

The state was set to execute Lockett Tuesday using a new lethal injection drug combination.

The Department of Corrections said Lockett's vein failed during the execution, preventing some of the drugs from entering his system properly. The DOC said the prisoner ultimately died of a massive heart attack.

4/29/2014 Related Story: Oklahoma Inmate Dies Of Heart Attack After Execution Goes Awry

Lockett's body was brought to Tulsa for an autopsy but is now being moved to Dallas, where the medical examiner there will provide an independent report.

Wednesday Governor Fallin ordered a review of the state's execution protocols by a state agency. Depending on the findings, death penalty opponents say the Supreme Court could step in.

Tess Maune was the only Tulsa TV Reporter allowed to watch the execution. She said six minutes after Lockett was declared unconscious, the inmate spoke, shook uncontrollably and even lifted his head and upper body off the execution table.

Nearly 45 minutes after the first drug was administered, Lockett died.

But we don't want the news of his death to drown out the story Stephanie Neiman, the woman who was murdered at the hands of Clayton Lockett.

4/30/2014 Related Story: Remembering Stephanie Neiman: Oklahoma Murder Victim's Tragic Story

Former Perry Police Chief, Fred LeValley said, "What people need to remember is, we've got a young girl, approximately 18 years old, had her whole life ahead of her and it ended."

In June of ‘99, Stephanie had just graduated from Perry High School. Her parents say she was excited about heading off to college and her pride and joy was her pickup.

The night she was murdered, Stephanie and two of her friends were headed to a party, where they were ambushed by three men, the ring leader being Lockett.

Stephanie was beaten and bound, then put in her truck and driven to a field where Lockett shot her twice. Lockett ordered his accomplice to bury Stephanie alive, despite hearing her cries from the shallow grave.

He later said he killed her because she told him she was going to call police.

Former Perry Police Chief, Fred LeValley never got that call. Instead, he was there the day Stephanie's body was found.

"I'm a Christian person with a lot of compassion, but knowing the case and knowing the fear and the torment and the pain that he put her through, I felt very little compassion," he said.

In a statement, Stephanie's parents told the court, "Clayton Lockett not only murdered Stephanie, but is also responsible for the part of us that died along with her."

"I feel compassion for his family, I feel compassion for her family, but I felt no remorse for him last night," LeValley said.

Lockett's stepmother, LaDonna Hollis, said she hopes his death helps bring Stephanie's family some closure, but wants the state to test the new lethal injection cocktail before the next execution.

"I know it was to put it him to death, but not to torture him. He did a bad thing, we recognize that. He recognized that, we all did. But, it's a constitutional wrong, that's what we are fighting against," Hollis said.

4/30/2014 Related Story: Lockett's Family Speaks Out About Botched Execution

Fallin has ordered an independent review, which could eventually change the Department of Corrections' protocols.


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