Oklahoma seeks to halt three executions after drug mix-up

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Oklahoma Governor Stays Execution After Drug Mix-Up

The Oklahoma attorney general on Thursday sought an indefinite stay of three executions including that of Richard Glossip, whose planned execution a day earlier was stopped at the last minute because of a mix-up with lethal injection drugs.

Scott Pruitt filed the request with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals so the state could examine what went wrong with its execution protocols. Legal experts said the court was expected to grant the request.

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In his filing, Pruitt said the office needed to evaluate what happened on Wednesday, when the state received potassium acetate for use in its three-drug protocol instead of the court-approved potassium chloride.

Oklahoma revised its death chamber protocols after a flawed execution last year when medical staff failed to properly place an IV line on convicted murderer Clayton Lockett, who was seen twisting in pain on the death chamber gurney.

See more images of Richard Glossip:

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Oklahoma inmate Richard Glossip set to die for 1997 killing
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Oklahoma seeks to halt three executions after drug mix-up
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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He died about 45 minutes after the procedure began because of an accumulation of lethal injection chemicals that had built up in his tissue.

Glossip, 52, was convicted of arranging the 1997 killing of Barry Van Treese, the owner of an Oklahoma City motel that Glossip was managing.

His lawyers said no physical evidence tied Glossip to the crime and that he was convicted largely on the testimony of Justin Sneed, then 19, who said Glossip hired him to carry out the killing. Sneed received a life sentence.

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Glossip has maintained his innocence and his lawyers presented statements in recent days from jail informants who said Sneed confessed to setting up Glossip so he could avoid a death sentence.

One of the drugs Oklahoma planned to use on Glossip, potassium acetate, has not been used in any execution and is not on any execution protocols, said Megan McCracken, an expert on the death penalty at the University of California Berkeley School of Law.

"The Oklahoma Department of Corrections can't get it right," said McCracken, a death penalty opponent.

Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton said his group received the drugs on Wednesday morning and did not know about the mistake until about two hours before the planned execution. After consulting with the attorney general, Patton asked Governor Mary Fallin to issue a stay, he said in a statement.

Glossip had previously tried to stop his execution by saying another of the drugs used in the mix could cause undue suffering.

Lawyers for Glossip and other Oklahoma death-row inmates had challenged midazolam, saying it could not achieve the level of unconsciousness required for surgery and was therefore unsuitable for executions.

"I have to make sure that I clear my name so that way I don't have to do this again," Glossip told broadcaster KOCO after Wednesday's stay.

(Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Peter Cooney and Mohammad Zargham)

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