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Okla. will not review protocol after 2 executions

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Oklahoma has no plans to review its lethal injection protocol even though two inmates executed this month complained as the drugs began to flow through their bodies.

Michael Lee Wilson, who was executed Jan. 9, said he felt his "whole body burning" within 20 seconds of receiving the injection. Kenneth Eugene Hogan, who was executed Thursday, complained of a metallic taste in his mouth seconds after his injection.

In September, death row inmate Anthony Rozelle Banks took several deep breaths as the lethal drugs were injected into his body, then appeared to grimace briefly before he stopped breathing and his body went limp.

Wilson and Hogan's complaints have some civil liberties groups decrying the drugs used in Oklahoma's lethal injections - particularly pentobarbital, a sedative commonly used to euthanize animals that is supposed to render a condemned inmate unconscious. The pentobarbital is followed by vecuronium bromide, which stops the inmate's breathing, then potassium chloride to stop the heart.

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections said it will not initiate a review of the state's execution protocol, and a spokeswoman for Attorney General Scott Pruitt said Oklahoma's execution method is "in compliance with the law."

"Our protocol was appropriate, and we have no plans to change it," DOC spokesman Jerry Massie said. "There had been nothing over the last several weeks that has done anything to change our opinion of that."

Oklahoma has used this three-drug protocol since 2010, when convicted inmate John David Duty was believed to be the first person in the U.S. whose execution included the use of pentobarbital. Before switching sedatives, Oklahoma and several other states had relied on the barbiturate sodium thiopental to put an inmate to sleep, but shortages of that drug caused states to look for alternatives.

One such state was Ohio, where on Jan. 16, inmate Dennis McGuire took 26 minutes to die after officials used an untested combination of a sedative and a painkiller.

Most of the 17 executions in Oklahoma using pentobarbital have been performed with no physical signs of discomfort or complaints as the drugs were injected. Massie said the comments made by Wilson and Hogan "are somewhat normal reactions," and that it didn't appear the men were in any kind of distress after they made the comments.

Massie also said that because the McGuire execution, more people have become sensitive to the issue, including inmates and their defense attorneys.

Oklahoma is not facing similar problems of states that are dealing with shortages of execution drugs or upcoming expiration dates, he said, declining to comment on where the state gets its execution drugs, saying the matter was "confidential."

Oklahoma's execution methods have been lambasted by groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, which called on the corrections department for a review.

"I think it's a no-brainer that you review it when you see something unexpected happen in the execution process," said Brady Henderson, legal director of the ACLU's Oklahoma chapter. "The fact is, if you look at how executions are done, our position is there has never been a truly humane process.

"What we're talking about here is states effectively almost experimenting on people with different cocktails of drugs, different means, supply problems," he said.

Richard Dieter, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, said he expects more court challenges of how states carry out lethal injections.

"(Executions) used to be quiet and we wouldn't witness anything and they'd pronounce death," he said. "Now there's a rumbling of more going on, and you could be watching some of your own death if you're semi-conscious. It is a little bit of a messier future."

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asilva1004 January 28 2014 at 8:14 AM

If you don't want to get the death penalty. Then don't do things that will get you the death penalty!!

Flag Reply +4 rate up
termig8rr January 28 2014 at 8:24 AM

Bring back 'Ole Sparky!'

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Rich January 28 2014 at 8:24 AM

What a strange headline on the AOL homepage.
"Despite complaints from executed inmates, Oklahoma will not review its protocol."
How do executed (dead) inmates complain? Do journalists (using that term loosely) even read what they write before they post it?

Flag Reply +2 rate up
Termite & Toicat January 28 2014 at 8:26 AM

And I suppose that if there was a firing squad option, the opposing legal counsel would argue about the "lead taste" of bullets?

Flag Reply +2 rate up
wlmcgee January 28 2014 at 8:26 AM

Your headline says "executed inmates complain..." Explain how this happens.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
wllharrington wlmcgee January 28 2014 at 8:33 AM

The article explains it. In the few seconds efore the sedative takes effect hey were still awake and able to feel something. I think that is a good thing.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
mvp3395 January 28 2014 at 8:26 AM

Why not just shot them ? It's a proven method that never fails and it's cost is minimal. These inmates didn't care how they killed so F...k em".

Flag Reply +1 rate up
VINCE January 28 2014 at 8:26 AM

Wow for once every one is right on track for this topic! Once you take away some one else's rights, you should not have any your self anymore. Their victims did not get to lay or sit comfortably and die peacefully. Good for Oklahoma not wanting to change the way they put these scumbags down! And to be honest I think Hanging by Rope should be the way executions should be done! Cheap and effective, you can use the same rope over and over again, line the the trash up and send them through like an assembly line. This would also cut down on cost to tax payers and solve the prison over population problems. If you murder some one you should not be able to sit around to long, get an education(which is wasted on them),basicly still be breathing(their victims can not anymore), then complain how they are being put to death(cowards you have no right to complain, you took some one else's rights away by killing them). Once again CONGRATULATIONS OKLAHOMA! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!

Flag Reply +2 rate up
wbwebb January 28 2014 at 8:27 AM

Bring back "old sparky"!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
caseylepperson January 28 2014 at 8:27 AM

So, one felt his body burning and another had a metallic taste in his mouth.....................kind of the same symptoms I had going through chemotherapy for 16 weeks fighting breast cancer last year.....waa waa waa!

Flag Reply +4 rate up
Swordfish January 28 2014 at 8:27 AM

This is capital punishment as it's not to be unicorns and chocolate covered cherries.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
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