Oklahoma gets wrong execution drug, delays lethal injection

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Oklahoma Governor Calls Off Execution Of Richard Glossip

McALESTER, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma death row inmate Richard Glossip was just minutes away from his scheduled lethal injection, stripped of all his belongings in a holding cell just a few feet from the state's death chamber, when he learned his execution had once again been delayed.

"I'm just standing there in just my boxers," Glossip, who claims he's innocent, told reporters in a telephone interview from the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. "They wouldn't tell me anything. Finally someone came up and said I got a stay."

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For the second time in as many weeks, the 52-year-old Glossip on Wednesday received a last-minute stay of execution — this time a 37-day delay from Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin after prison officials said one of the three drugs they had received to carry out the lethal injection was the wrong one.

Oklahoma's protocols call for the use of potassium chloride, but the state received potassium acetate instead. The state Department of Corrections receives its lethal injection drugs on the day of an execution, Fallin spokesman Alex Weintz said. State law prohibits prison officials from revealing the supplier of the drugs.

After realizing the mistake, the Corrections Department reached out immediately to the attorney general's office, Weintz said.

See photos of Glossip and his supporters:

14 PHOTOS
Oklahoma inmate Richard Glossip set to die for 1997 killing
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Oklahoma gets wrong execution drug, delays lethal injection
FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections shows death row inmate Richard Glossip. Glossip is scheduled to be executed Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Oklahoma Department of Corrections, File)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 29: Anti-death penalty activists, including members of MoveOn.org and other advocay groups rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court in a final attempt to prevent the execution of Oklahoma inmate Richard Glossip on September 29, 2015 in Washington, DC. Legal experts, death penalty opponents, and hundreds of thousands of ordinary Americans have fought tirelessly to prevent the execution of Glossip. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images for MoveOn.org)
Sister Helen Prejean, famous for the book "Dead Man Walking" about her work with death row inmates, speaks at Belmont University Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. Prejean is the spiritual adviser for Richard Glossip, the Oklahoma inmate who just got a last minute reprieve from execution. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Kathleen Lord, center, and Don Knight, right, two of Richard Glossip's defense attorneys, look on as Sister Helen Prejean, left, addresses the media outside the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester Okla., Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, after a stay was issued for Glossip. Glossip was twice convicted of ordering the killing of Barry Van Treese, who owned the Oklahoma City motel where he worked. His co-worker, Justin Sneed, was convicted of fatally beating Van Treese and was a key prosecution witness in Glossip's trials. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Sister Helen Prejean, a death penalty opponent, speaks during a news conference in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. Looking on at left is Don Knight, one of the defense attorneys for Richard Glossip. Glossip is scheduled to be executed on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, and his defense team is asking for a stay while they search for evidence in the case. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
From left, Janie Coverdale, who lost two grandchildren in the Oklahoma City bombing, Nancy Norvell and Kathy Wokaty, a sister of death row inmate Richard Glossip, listen during a news conference in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. Glossip is scheduled to be executed on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, and his defense team is asking for a stay while they search for evidence in the case. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Connie Johnson, former Oklahoma state Senator, speaks to a rally to stop the execution of Richard Glossip, in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015. Glossip is scheduled to be executed Wednesday, Sept. 16. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Ericka Glossip-Hodge, left, daughter of Richard Glossip, and Billie Jo Ogden Boyiddle, right, Richard Glossip's sister, listen during a rally to stop the execution of Richard Glossip, in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015. Glossip is scheduled to be executed Wednesday, Sept. 16. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Ericka Glossip-Hodge, left, the daughter of death row inmate Richard Glossip, and Don Knight, right, one of his attorneys, wait next to a portrait of Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin to deliver information to a representative of the governor concerning Glossips's case, in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. Glossip is scheduled to be executed on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, and his defense team is asking for a stay while they search for evidence in the case. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Nancy Vollertsen holds a photo of her brother, Greg Wilhoit, who spent five years on Oklahoma's death row before being exonerated, during a rally to stop the execution of Richard Glossip in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015. Glossip is scheduled to be executed Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
Billie Jo Ogden Boyiddle, left, a niece of death row inmate Richard Glossip, is pictured following a news conference by his attorneys in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. Pictured at center is Ericka Glossip-Hodge, his daughter. Glossip is scheduled to be executed on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, and his defense team is asking for a stay while they search for evidence in the case. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Kim Vanetta, of New York, a friend of Richard Glossip, holds a box of correspondence Glossip has received, during a protest at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015. Glossip is scheduled to be executed Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. At rear is Glossip's niece, Billie Jo Ogden Boyiddle. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Ericka Glossip-Hodge signs the guest book in the Governor's office in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015. Her father, Richard Glossip, is scheduled to be executed Wednesday, Sept. 16. Glossip's family and supporters rallied at the state Capitol, asking for a 60-day stay. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
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Attorney General Scott Pruitt's office advised Fallin and prison officials that the state's lethal injection guidelines, which had been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, had to be followed, said Pruitt spokesman Aaron Cooper.

"It is unclear why, and extremely frustrating to the attorney general, that the Department of Corrections did not have the correct drugs to carry out the execution," Cooper said.

But Dale Baich, an attorney for Glossip, said he was informed in a letter from Pruitt's office last month that the Department of Corrections had already obtained the potassium chloride and other drugs needed for the execution.

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"Oklahoma has had months to prepare for this execution, and today's events only highlight how more transparency and public oversight in executions is sorely needed," Baich said.

The state's execution protocols call for the prison's death row section chief to ensure the drugs are ordered, arrive as scheduled and are properly stored after the execution date is set, which in Glossip's case happened two weeks ago.

Fallin reset Glossip's execution for Nov. 6, saying it would give the state enough time to determine whether potassium acetate is a suitable substitute, or to find a supply of potassium chloride.

Hours before Glossip was scheduled to be executed Sept. 16 for ordering the 1997 killing of Barry Van Treese, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals granted a rare two-week reprieve to review his claims of new evidence, including another inmate's assertion that he overheard Justin Sneed admit to framing Glossip.

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The Van Treese family, in a statement to The Associated Press, said: "The only response we can muster at this juncture is a collective 'unbelievable.'

"We continue to have faith that it will, at some point, be finished."

Glossip has long claimed he was framed by Sneed, a motel handyman who admitted to fatally beating Van Treese with a baseball bat, but said he did so only after Glossip promised him $10,000. Sneed, who is serving a life sentence, was the state's key witness against Glossip in two separate trials. But the same court this week denied Glossip's request for an evidentiary hearing and emergency stay of execution, saying the new evidence simply expanded on his original appeals.

The U.S. Supreme Court also refused to block the execution Wednesday, just before Fallin issued her stay.

Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton said he requested the stay "out of due diligence" after learning officials had the wrong drug.

"This will allow us time to review the current drug protocol and answer any questions we might have about the drug protocol," he told reporters at the media center near Oklahoma's execution chamber before walking away without taking questions.

Patton took over as head of corrections in January 2014. That April, Clayton Lockett writhed and struggled against his restraints after an intravenous line was improperly placed. Lockett died 43 minutes after his lethal injection started.

Another one of Glossip's lawyers, Donald Knight, said he will use the additional weeks to press the inmate's claim that he had nothing to do with Van Treese's death.

"Hopefully the extra time will bring us more witnesses who know Justin Sneed is a liar," Knight said.

Besides his innocence claim, Glossip has been the lead plaintiff in a separate case in which his attorneys have argued that the sedative midazolam wouldn't adequately render an inmate unconscious before the second and third drugs were administered. They said that presented a substantial risk of violating the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.

However, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 in June that the sedative's use was constitutional.

Oklahoma's protocols call for the use of midazolam at the start of an execution. It is followed by vecuronium bromide, which halts an inmate's breathing, and potassium chloride, which stops the heart.

Oklahoma first used midazolam in the Lockett execution. After that, the state increased by five times the amount of midazolam it uses and executed Charles Warner in January. He complained of a burning sensation but showed no other obvious signs of physical distress.

Oklahoma has two more executions planned in upcoming weeks. A corrections department spokeswoman said there currently are no plans to delay those punishments.

RELATED GALLERY: See photos from the controversial execution of a Georgia woman:

26 PHOTOS
Kelly Renee Gissendaner
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Oklahoma gets wrong execution drug, delays lethal injection
FILE- In this Nov. 18, 1998, file photo, Kelly Gissendaner in shown in court during her murder trial in Lawrenceville, Ga. Gissendaner, 47, was convicted of murder in the February 1997 slaying of her husband. She conspired with her lover, who stabbed Douglas Gissendaner to death. She is scheduled to die by lethal injection Tuesday night, Sept. 29, 2015. (Richard Fowlkes(/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, File)
Dawn Skorcik, left, of Marietta, Ga., and Dawn Barber, of Powder Springs, Ga., comfort each other while protesting outside of Georgia Diagnostic Prison in Jackson, Ga., Tuesday evening, Sept. 29, 2015, before the execution of Kelly Gissendaner. Gissendaner was convicted of murder in the February 1997 slaying of her husband. She conspired with her lover, who stabbed Douglas Gissendaner to death. She is scheduled to die by lethal injection Tuesday night. (Ben Gray/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP) 
Children of Kelly Gissendaner, from left, Brandon Brookshire, Dakota Brookshire and Kayla Gissendaner wait before a hearing to ask parole board to reconsider Gissendaner's clemency request at The State Board of Pardons and Paroles, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015., in Decatur, Ga. Gissendaner, 47, was convicted of murder in the February 1997 slaying of her husband. She conspired with her lover, who stabbed Douglas Gissendaner to death. She is scheduled to die by lethal injection Tuesday night. (Hyosub Shin/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP) 
Kayla Gissendaner, center, walks with Rev. Della Bacote, right, after thanking supporters who were protesting outside Georgia Diagnostic Prison in Jackson, Ga., Tuesday evening, Sept. 29, 2015, before the execution of her mother Kelly Gissendaner. Gissendaner, 47, was convicted of murder in the February 1997 slaying of her husband. She conspired with her lover, who stabbed Douglas Gissendaner to death. She is scheduled to die by lethal injection Tuesday night. (Ben Gray/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP) 
Protesters gather outside of Georgia Diagnostic Prison in Jackson, Ga., Tuesday evening, Sept. 29, 2015, before the execution of Kelly Gissendaner. Gissendaner, 47, was convicted of murder in the February 1997 slaying of her husband. She conspired with her lover, who stabbed Douglas Gissendaner to death. She is scheduled to die by lethal injection Tuesday night. (Ben Gray/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP) 
Dorinda Tatum, left, Rev. Michelle Ledder, center, and Cassandra Henderson react after hearing that Kelly ReneeGissendaner had been executed just after midnight on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015, at Georgia Diagnostic Prison in Jackson, Ga. Gissendaner was convicted of murder in the February 1997 slaying of her husband. (Ben Gray/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
FILE - In this July 6, 2004, file photo, Kelly Renee Gissendaner, the only woman on Georgia's death row, looks through the slot in her cell door as a guard brings her a cup of ice at Metro State Prison in Atlanta. Georgia state officials have granted a new clemency hearing for Gissendaner. The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles said in a news release Monday, Sept. 28, 2015, that it will hold the hearing Tuesday morning. (Bita Honarvar/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, File) 
Marcus Easley embraces Rev. Della Bacote while talking about spending the last two days with Kelly Gissendaner during a protest outside of Georgia Diagnostic Prison in Jackson, Ga., Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015, before the execution of Gissendaner. Gissendaner, 47, was convicted of murder in the February 1997 slaying of her husband. She conspired with her lover, who stabbed Douglas Gissendaner to death. She is scheduled to die by lethal injection Tuesday night. (Ben Gray/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
Lawyers for Kelly Gissendaner Beth Wells, foreground left, and Susan Casey, right, confer as children ofKelly Gissendaner, background from left, Brandon Brookshire, Dakota Brookshire and Kayla Gissendaner wait before a hearing to ask parole board to reconsider Gissendaner's clemency request at The State Board of Pardons and Paroles on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015., in Decatur, Ga. Gissendaner, 47, was convicted of murder in the February 1997 slaying of her husband. She conspired with her lover, who stabbed Douglas Gissendaner to death. She is scheduled to die by lethal injection Tuesday night. (Hyosub Shin/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
Daniel Kolber, of Atlanta, sits as protesters gather outside outside of Georgia Diagnostic Prison in Jackson, Ga., Tuesday evening, Sept. 29, 2015, before the execution of Kelly Gissendaner. Gissendaner, 47, was convicted of murder in the February 1997 slaying of her husband. She conspired with her lover, who stabbed DouglasGissendaner to death. She is scheduled to die by lethal injection Tuesday night. (Ben Gray/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP) 
Protesters gather outside of Georgia Diagnostic Prison in Jackson, Ga., Tuesday evening, Sept. 29, 2015, before the execution of Kelly Gissendaner. Gissendaner, 47, was convicted of murder in the February 1997 slaying of her husband. She conspired with her lover, who stabbed Douglas Gissendaner to death. She is scheduled to die by lethal injection Tuesday night. (Ben Gray/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP) 
URGENT: Tell @GA_ParoleBoard to halt tomorrow's execution of #KellyGissendaner! #kellyonmymind http://t.co/jV3RdTXN3c http://t.co/kzx2TAVVIh
Supporters say Kelly Gissendaner's reconciliation with her kids is a reason her execution should be halted. #fox5atl http://t.co/pmr8UXxKTX
Kelly Gissendaner scheduled to be put to death today. Her lawyers hope to save her life. #fox5atl @GoodDayAtlanta http://t.co/ieHzkykLFP
Kelly Gissendaner gets new shot at clemency on eve of execution http://t.co/gmWsebXjC6 http://t.co/i1Kg6bWBim
Demonstrators hold signs as they pray during a rally outside the parole board office in Atlanta on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015 to ask the Board of Pardons and Paroles to change the execution of Kelly Renee Gissendaner to life in prison. Gissendaner was convicted of murder in the February 1997 slaying of her husband. Prosecutors say she conspired with her lover, who stabbed Douglas Gissendaner to death. (Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
Demonstrators hold signs during a rally in Atlanta on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015 to ask the Board of Pardons and Paroles to change the execution of Kelly Renee Gissendaner to life in prison. Gissendaner was convicted of murder in the February 1997 slaying of her husband. Prosecutors say she conspired with her lover, who stabbed DouglasGissendaner to death. (Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
Demonstrators hold signs as they pray during a rally outside the parole board office in Atlanta on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015 to ask the Board of Pardons and Paroles to change the execution of Kelly Renee Gissendaner to life in prison. Gissendaner was convicted of murder in the February 1997 slaying of her husband. Prosecutors say she conspired with her lover, who stabbed Douglas Gissendaner to death. (Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
Jennifer Monahan holds a sign as she and other demonstrators pray during a rally in Atlanta on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015 to ask the Board of Pardons and Paroles to change the execution of Kelly Renee Gissendaner to life in prison. Gissendaner was convicted of murder in the February 1997 slaying of her husband. Prosecutors say she conspired with her lover, who stabbed Douglas Gissendaner to death. (Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
Demonstrators hold signs during a rally in Atlanta on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015 to ask the Board of Pardons and Paroles to change the execution of Kelly Renee Gissendaner to life in prison. Gissendaner was convicted of murder in the February 1997 slaying of her husband. Prosecutors say she conspired with her lover, who stabbed Douglas Gissendaner to death. (Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
A consistent ethic of life is one that opposes the death penalty. My prayers are with #KellyGissendaner and @GA_ParoleBoard. #kellyonmymind
The parole board is granting a clemency hearing for #KellyGissendaner in the morning. Keep writing, calling, praying. #kellyonmymind
Please @GovernorDeal as one Christian to another I'm begging you to show mercy and spare the life of #KellyGissendaner. #kellyonmymind
The death penalty is antiquated, embarrassing, and inhumane. #kellyonmymind #KellyGissendaner
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