6-month stay sought in delayed Oklahoma execution

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 5, 2014 at 5:12 pm •  Published: May 5, 2014
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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Attorneys for an Oklahoma inmate who was to be put to death the same night as a botched execution asked the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals on Monday to grant a stay for at least six months pending a review into what went wrong last week.

Lawyers for Charles Warner cited last Tuesday's execution of Clayton Lockett, who writhed on the gurney, gritted his teeth and moaned before being pronounced dead of an apparent heart attack 43 minutes after the execution began.

The stay should be granted "until evidence can be provided to counsel for Warner that the state of Oklahoma can carry out a humane, constitutional execution," according to the emergency application for a stay.

Warner's attorney, Susanna Gattoni, said her client is not pursuing an appeal to his death sentence or criminal conviction.

"That's been decided long ago," Gattoni said, "but we are still looking at options with respect to a way to bring about some process that can ensure that if the death penalty continues to be conducted here in the state of Oklahoma, that it's done so in a manner that doesn't violate the state and federal constitution.

"And I would think everyone in the state of Oklahoma would want that."

President Barack Obama had last week called the Lockett incident "deeply troubling" and said he's asked his attorney general for a review of the death penalty's application.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has said he believes no executions should occur until a review of Lockett's execution is complete.

"We're reviewing the latest request and will file a response," Pruitt spokeswoman Diane Clay said Monday.

Warner, who was convicted of raping and killing an 11-month-old in 1997, has maintained his innocence. He was scheduled to die last week two hours after Lockett, but Gov. Mary Fallin issued a two-week stay pending a thorough inquiry into Lockett's execution. Fallin also has said she is willing to extend her stay for up to 60 days, the maximum length she is allowed under state law.