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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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katiagal January 28 2014 at 8:10 AM

"Poor souls" - they have "metallic" taste in their mouths before they kick the bucket..... how terrible. And how did their victims feel when they were being tortured or bludgeoned to death or stabbled multiple times and killed by these animals!!! What total garbage - they should be electricuted not put down humanely.

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Regina January 28 2014 at 8:20 AM

If it's good enough for a dog, it's good enough for a death row inmate.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
tofastferu January 28 2014 at 11:00 AM

Awww, poor fellas.. "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."

Bring back the firing squad..

Flag Reply +8 rate up
1 reply
daveliq tofastferu January 28 2014 at 11:23 AM

Good idea they will never remember the taste of lead

Flag Reply +2 rate up
yohopyo January 28 2014 at 8:21 AM

Tough guano!!!!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
jerrypoz January 28 2014 at 8:22 AM

"Despite complaints from executed inmates" ???? How can someone who has been executed

Flag Reply +2 rate up
gcamp37721 January 28 2014 at 11:00 AM

Dang I am glad you changed the Head line. I was Heading for my bunker with my Bug out kit


Okla. will not review lethal injection protocol

Despite complaints from executed inmates, Oklahoma will not review its protocol.

What's being said about the issue

previous headline for those that missed it

Flag Reply +1 rate up
niteone42 January 28 2014 at 8:24 AM

You can't imagine the pain or feeling that the victim felt, when their life was being terminated by the person being executed. Very few reflect on the victim and what they went through. So the person being executed has 20 seconds of strange feelings. The person being executed should feel the same trauma as their victim.

Flag Reply +3 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
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