Chat recap: Oklahoma lethal injections

by Graham Lee Brewer Modified: April 30, 2014 at 3:09 pm •  Published: April 30, 2014
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The Oklahoman's Graham Lee Brewer chatted with readers Wednesday about the botched lethal injection at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary Tuesday. Below is an unedited transcript of the chat.

NewsOK 1:12 p.m. Hey everyone. We'll get started with the chat at 2 p.m., but you can start submitting your questions now.
Graham Brewer 1:35 p.m. Here's more information on the case: http://newsok.com/botched-l...
Graham Brewer 1:57 p.m. Hello everyone. Thanks for joining the conversation. I look forward to the discussion.
Stacy C. 2:00 p.m. Why are we giving so much attention to this inmates "violent execution?" Did he not commit a "violent crime?" I think we should stop wasting so much time to this issue. Who cares? He got what he deseverd!
Graham Brewer 2:01 p.m. The execution process is a very serious endeavor. These people pay the ultimate price. It is important to watchdog this procedure.
Vicki F 2:01 p.m. How much money has been spent on this, between legal and drug expenses? I read once life imprisonment is cheaper, and more humane. Maybe it is time to stop.
Graham Brewer 2:02 p.m. This is a great question. The appeals process is expensive, and there is evidence to support that allowing the inmates to serve life is about the third of the cost of appealing the case.
Graham Brewer 2:03 p.m. I will definitely be looking into the costs of all of this.
Sally A. 2:03 p.m. What does the failed vein have to do with the heart attack that ultimately caused Lockett's death? Did the drug cocktail cause the heart attack? I read either here or in a Tulsa World article that Lockett's attorney doubts that the vein actually failed.
Graham Brewer 2:04 p.m. This is a very important question right now. But, until the autopsy and the investigation are complete we simply don't know the answer.
Graham Brewer 2:04 p.m. It is unclear when those will be completed, and the DOC is not offering information on them at this time.
Greg 2:04 p.m. Does oklahoma still have the death by fireing squad? If so why not?
Graham Brewer 2:05 p.m. If lethal injection is found unconstitutional, then the state is allowed by statute to use the electric chair. If the electric chair is then found unconstitutional, the state can use a firing squad. These are, of course, last ditch efforts, and are not likely to be pursued. At least, not right now.
Josh H. 2:07 p.m. Who is performing the autopsy on the inmate? With the amount of national media attention the torture is receiving I would hope there would be an independent investigation into the entire situation to limit any whitewashing that may come up.
Graham Brewer 2:07 p.m. The state medical examiner in Tulsa will perform the procedure. I imagine they will get it done as soon as possible, if it isn't already completed.
Liz 2:08 p.m. How long do you estimate the investigation into this execution to take?
Graham Brewer 2:08 p.m. I also imagine the state will work hard to complete the investigation soon, but I can't really say.
Sally A. 2:08 p.m. We've already seen people questioning the need for humane execution for criminals like these. Do you think that Jay Carney's statement today saying that the White House believes this was not humane will just fuel these thoughts?
Graham Brewer 2:09 p.m. I can't really speculate on how the nation will react, but I will say that I was surprised the White House chose to comment.
Guest 2:09 p.m. Who pays for the investigation?
Graham Brewer 2:09 p.m. The state is conducting the investigation.
anonymous 2:10 p.m. what crime did the two individuals commit?
Graham Brewer 2:11 p.m. Lockett killed Stephanie Neiman, 19, in 1999 before having an accomplice bury her alive.
Graham Brewer 2:11 p.m. Warner raped and killed his girlfriend's 11-month-old daughter, Adrianna Waller.
Marvin P. 2:12 p.m. For those found at fault for yesterday's failed attempt, what's the punishment? Will Fallin be held to the same standard?
Graham Brewer 2:13 p.m. I don't know that anyone could be found liable, unless there is evidence of gross negligence. But, until the investigation is complete, this is purely speculation.
Madison 2:14 p.m. Why was the state so secretive about the drugs used?
Graham Brewer 2:14 p.m. The state has long argued that in order to protect private compounding pharmacies from protest and threats from those who oppose the death penalty it is necessary to keep their identity secret.
Guest 2:15 p.m. Will we find out who supplied the drug?
Graham Brewer 2:15 p.m. I have serious doubts this will happen anytime soon.
Julie Howard 2:16 p.m. Where is the OUTRAGE over the murder of the victim? This is INSANE and a BLATANT slap in the face to the family! Lord help! She was buried I've!
Graham Brewer 2:16 p.m. I think this is a fair point. I completely understand the anger and disgust over these crimes. There is no doubt, they were heinous and cruel. But, remember, this execution was done FOR those victims. This is how the state offers them justice.
Guest 2:17 p.m. I would like to know why we are spending so much time and attention on the execution being botched and his pain and suffering. Where is the concern for the young woman he shot and was then buried alive. It seems this society is so concerned with the criminals feelings and whether they are treated humanely or not. I call B.S. If you can't be a man and accept the consequences then don't commit such heinous crimes. He deserved what he got.
Graham Brewer 2:18 p.m. Again, I understand this sentiment, however, the state has a responsibility to uphold the constitution for ALL Oklahomans, even the lowest criminals.
Guest 2:19 p.m. Is there a protocol that is followed and is it publicly available online that clearly defines the procedures and the drug doses?
Graham Brewer 2:19 p.m. There is, and I would be happy to email it to anyone interested. gbrewer@opubco.com
Julie Howard 2:19 p.m. Why did The White House even co
Graham Brewer 2:20 p.m. I'm not entirely sure, but I imagine pressure from the media for comment played a role.
Josh H. 2:20 p.m. Why are the companies providing the drug to be protected, why does these companies not covered under the freedom of information act but medical facilities that provide abortions not. Also, why is oversight on execution not as scrutinous or regulated?
Graham Brewer 2:21 p.m. This is a good question and one you should ask your Legislator.
Tim 2:22 p.m. Leaving aside for the moment the appalling incompetence displayed at last night's execution, how does the murdering of murderers by the State of Oklahoma help, in any way, the victims or the cause of justice?
Graham Brewer 2:22 p.m. I would like to point out that the Oklahoma AG's Office take their role in providing justice very seriously. They see this as their duty to the victims.
Liz 2:23 p.m. How do you know it was incompetence? What if it was the untested drugs?
Graham Brewer 2:23 p.m. This is a major component of the whole case.
Vickey 2:24 p.m. Mr Brewer, why did you not post correctly that this discussion would be between you and the people who agree with your hug a thug stanc on this matter?
Graham Brewer 2:24 p.m. Not sure what you're referring to. I simply report the news.
Graham Brewer 2:24 p.m. I take my job very seriously, and I only report what I know.
Guest 5 2:25 p.m. There are many reasons why an unconscious person might spasm. And it doesn't mean pain was involved.
Graham Brewer 2:25 p.m. Valid point.
Madison 2:26 p.m. European drug companies banned the use of their drugs by the American Prison system for execution in 2013, so in last nights execution, new drugs were used, so my question is, do we know if these same drugs have been used in other more recent executions?
Graham Brewer 2:27 p.m. Florida and Ohio both use Midazolam. Florida uses 5 times the amount, while Ohio uses significantly less.
Steve 2:27 p.m. Mr. Brewer: I appreciate your comments. The crimes of these two men were heinous by any standards, and if the Death Penalty is ever justifiable then these cases seem to warrant it. However, to argue, as some on here have, that we as a society should not concern ourselves with how we carry out the executions because the condemned deserve whatever they get is to lower ourselves to the same standards that the condemned held themselves to. The whole point of a civilized society is to remain civilized; at least more civilized than the worst acts of our worst citizens.
Marvin P. 2:27 p.m. I see not all comments are to be shared. Shame on NewsOK!
Graham Brewer 2:28 p.m. I can only get to so many. If you have a valid point, make it, and I will include it to the best of my ability.
Graham Brewer 2:28 p.m. Plus, not everyone is so nice.
Guest 2:28 p.m. Why is there so little coverage on why the Court backed down? I'm not sure if it was illegal, but it seemed pretty close (GOP threatening to impeach judges for a ruling they did not like)
Graham Brewer 2:29 p.m. I think this is something that warrants more attention, as well. I plan to ask these questions.
Josh H. 2:29 p.m. If Lockett killed Stephanie Neiman, how was she buried alive?
Graham Brewer 2:30 p.m. Lockett shot her twice, and after realizing she was still alive refused to shoot her a third time. He asked an accomplice to bury her.
Tess 2:30 p.m. I don't understand why people are saying this is unconstitutional and the criminals rights have been violated. Once a person commits a heinous crime, is sentenced to prison for life and/or death, a criminal should not have rights. This is crazy! In other countries we wouldn't be having this conversation, they would already be dead.
Graham Brewer 2:31 p.m. Again, the state has to uphold the constitution for everyone.
DK 2:31 p.m. The criminal is dead. Does anyone really care if he suffered? I don't. I have more empathy for his victim and the Okla. taxpayers who have had to support him for all these years. All I can say is "Next".
Graham Brewer 2:32 p.m. This is a pretty common opinion. I would just say when we agree as a state to put someone to death, we should make sure it is carried out properly.
Graham Brewer 2:32 p.m. FYI, I'm including questions more than general comments.
Jay 2:33 p.m. Graham, why do you entertain dumb comments and questions like the previous two?
Graham Brewer 2:33 p.m. Just trying to get everyone's voice involved.
Vickey 2:33 p.m. this is ridiculous and a waste of time, we do have other options, Mr Brewer, why don't you go work for DOC and get a real look at it from the inside. Your opinion would change, significantly.
Graham Brewer 2:34 p.m. I tour prisons all the time. I speak with officers every week. I speak with Director Patton regularly. And, I've witnessed two executions. AS a reporter, which is my job, i try to inform myself.
Dan-Stillwater 2:34 p.m. Mr. Brewer, If you're so hung up on the state having to hold up the constitution...then it is the state's "Constitutional" responsibility to protect me, AND the rest of the population from criminals/animals like these.
Graham Brewer 2:35 p.m. Yes, if you are a victim and a jury hands down death, you get that justice. But, it must be done constitutionally. And, I'm not arguing that it wasn't.
Tim 2:36 p.m. I am astounded at how few people participating in this "chat" grasp the importance of constitutional rights. The constitution clearly prohibits inflicting cruel and unusual punishment, which clearly occurred last night. If we stop following our own laws then we are no better than the criminals we profess to despise.
Guest 2:36 p.m. When a person is executed, is it listed as homicide or something else as cause of death on a death certificate? Just curious.
Graham Brewer 2:36 p.m. I'm not entirely sure, but I believe it is classified as a homicide.
Jay 2:37 p.m. The legal definition would be homicide
Guest 2:38 p.m. If Oklahoma is found to have violated the eighth amendment in this execution, who in the Oklahoma government, the DOC, or the compounding "pharmacy" would pay any penalties?
Graham Brewer 2:38 p.m. This will all depend on the findings of the state's investigation and autopsy.
Guest 2:39 p.m. What legal ramification does the state face after last nights events?
Graham Brewer 2:39 p.m. Again, we'll have to wait for the results.
Marvin P. 2:40 p.m. Does the Governor have the power to over rule the state supreme court?
Graham Brewer 2:41 p.m. This is still a topic of debate. The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has jurisdiction over criminal matters. It can be argued the Supreme Court overstepped its authority.
Graham Brewer 2:42 p.m. I would like to share a few comments, just to get a feel for what people are expressing.
Marvin P. 2:42 p.m. I am so TOTALLY ashamed of my state, Mary Fallin, the Oklahoma State supreme court and the legislatures who aided and abetted her. May God have mercy on their souls. They certainly had none in commiting the crimes they perpatrated.
Stacy C. 2:42 p.m. This is RED state and we have proved that time and time again. Most of of us agree the death penatly for hanious crimes...an eye for an eye if you will. I think we should shoot them all or fry them. This is a waste of time. My heart is saddened for the poor families that are reliving the pain of their crimes. Mary Fallin was voted for by me but I am quickly thinking she needs a bigger set of brass ones to handle this situation. Stand your ground girl!
Guest 2:42 p.m. Its the state's responsibility to protect you to the extent that we have agreed on how that is to occur. Regarding punishment, we have agreed both as a nation, Eighth Amendment to the US Constitution, and as a state, Article 2, Section 9 of the Oklahoma Constitution, that it cannot be carried out in a cruel and unusual manner. Moreover, the issue regarding the heinous nature of the crimes v. the method of carrying out the death penalty are separate. What's so difficult about that?
KW 2:43 p.m. Horrible he had to die that way, but just out of curiousity, who was his victim and how did they die? What was done to make sure the victim had a more peaceful death? I would also like to know roughly how much tax money was spent during his death row stay, and how it compares to how much is spent per student in our schools (K-12)?
Guest 2:43 p.m. I wish more attention would be given to the vicitms and less to these monsters. I have seen their faces way to much in recent weeks and had forgoten what their crimes were. The one left alive raped and murdered an 11 month old. It is unforunate that he did not die peacefully, but it is certainly not the end of the world.
Jay 2:43 p.m. Graham, these comments are sickening. Im embarrassed
Guy 2:43 p.m. So was Charles Warner served a last meal prior to his execution being "postponed"?
Graham Brewer 2:44 p.m. I'm really not sure, but that is kind of an interesting question. He requested 20 hot wings from KFC, a large potato wedge, 20 ounce coke, and two fruit cups.
Graham Brewer 2:45 p.m. and cole slaw.
Cheryl 2:45 p.m. with all the controversy about the drug cocktail and lawsuits over secrecy of the drugs involved, why wasn't this settled BEFORE we , once again, went off half cocked.
Graham Brewer 2:45 p.m. The state and the AG's Office pushed pretty hard to move forward.
Cheryl 2:46 p.m. I am not necessarily a anti death penalty person but in a civilized country should we not find a way to deal this penalty without these kinds of incidents?
Graham Brewer 2:46 p.m. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers.
Cheryl 2:46 p.m. But why the push? They had to be aware that there were similar incidents in other parts of the country.
Graham Brewer 2:47 p.m. The AG is focused on justice, put simply. It's their job to pursue the sentence given.
Pete 2:48 p.m. Graham -- I think you're doing a pretty good job moderating a difficult, emotionally charged discussion. I'd call the debate fascinating if it wasn't so sad on so many angles. Thank you.
Graham Brewer 2:48 p.m. This is my first chat, so I appreciate that. I'm trying hard to get to all the points.
Guest 5 2:49 p.m. I haven't seen anything that confirms his constitutional rights weren't upheld
Graham Brewer 2:49 p.m. That's certainly debatable.
Pete 2:49 p.m. Well it's the longest I've ever stuck around to watch a chat on newsok, so I think you're doing a fine job.
Graham Brewer 2:49 p.m. Haha, thanks, Pete.
Graham Brewer 2:50 p.m. Are there any other questions? I hope this has been helpful sop far.
Guest 2:50 p.m. What was Lockett's request for a last meal?
Graham Brewer 2:51 p.m. Lockett had a more interesting story. He asked for Chaeaubriand Steak.
Graham Brewer 2:51 p.m. It exceeded the $15 limit and was denied.
Graham Brewer 2:51 p.m. The state offered him a steak from Western Sizzlin, but he declined. He never had a last meal.
SG 2:51 p.m. How often were Guillotine's known to fail?
Graham Brewer 2:52 p.m. I have to say, you are among a ever growing number of people who ask me this question.
Diane 2:52 p.m. I do think you need to clarify the White House's comments. The president was concerned about the problems encountered, but does believe that heinous crimes deserve the death penalty, and he said this crime seemed to qualify.
Graham Brewer 2:52 p.m. Thanks, Diane.
Jay 2:52 p.m. I have a question over who had a jurisdiction over the appeal for prisoners execution? From what I understand that was not a criminal case correct? So then why was it sent to the Court of Criminal Appeals?
Graham Brewer 2:53 p.m. The sentencing is a criminal matter, however, lawyers argued the possible rights violation was civil. In the end, everyone seemed to agree the court of criminal appeals is the proper venue to issue a stay of execution.
Guest 2:53 p.m. how is a vet able to put down pets of various sizes in a peaceful manner, yet we can't find a doc who can do the same to these monsters.
Graham Brewer 2:54 p.m. I've never witnessed an animal be put down, so I can't really say.
Cheryl 2:55 p.m. I understand the AG is to advocate for the victims. I have a LE background. But as an AG, the office had to be aware of these incidents and subsequent lawsuits. Why put us, as a state, in that situation. Shouldn't our AG also be advocating for the people of the state so as not to put us in this position where there would be a high potential of ligtigation. it seems we spend more time, as an AG, defending our actions without thinking of the outcome. After all, they ARE attorneys.
Cheryl 2:55 p.m. Also, I think you are doing a good job with this chat.
Graham Brewer 2:55 p.m. I wish I had more insight into Pruitt's decision with this case, but I can't really say why he pursued it in the matter he did.
Jim 2:56 p.m. Concerning vets putting down animals, the metabolism of different animals, including humans, reacts differently to the drugs. The amount used to kill a horse can sometimes be less than that used on a smaller animal. From what I've read, each state uses a different dose in their cocktail.
Joe 2:57 p.m. will there be an independent autopsy to confirm the story of the 'blown vein'?
Graham Brewer 2:57 p.m. An autopsy is being done now, and the state is investigating the execution.
Graham Brewer 2:58 p.m. I'm going to include a few more comments. Just a few minutes left if there are any other questions.
Guest 2:58 p.m. So, we blast, tar and feather a guy for speaking his mind on his true beliefs (whether they are right or wrong should not be the issue) and bar him from the NBA yet we feel sorry for a KILLER who showed no mercy on his victim and we try to save the same thing to happening to another killer? We all have our beliefs, whether they are right or wrong yet a guy suffers while he is being executed and we are upset. Something is terribly wrong with our country.
Tim 2:58 p.m. The Oklahoma AG's office is no doubt sincere in their belief that executions of convicted murderers serves justice. But how is that just? I do not see much difference between the private brutality committed by the murders and the public brutality committed by the AG's office. Put another way, killing killers doesn't help the victims -- it is just more killing.
Guy 2:59 p.m. Was Lockett interviewed/assessed within the 24-hours prior to his execution? If so, were any details shared with you? Would be very strange to know/await the exact time of your own death.
Graham Brewer 2:59 p.m. I requested an interview, and Lockett agreed. However, due to the violent nature he has exhibited while incarcerated led the warden to cancel the interview.
Jim 3:00 p.m. I wish the headlines would not refer to the execution as "botched," until an investigation reveals the reason why the drugs did not work in the manner anticipated. If the cause of the long delay in death was due to collapsed veins, it seems like the state could not have anticipated that unless they knew the drugs used would cause them to collapse. The states are scrambling to find a new cocktail since the primary drug used in death penalties has been removed from the market. Perhaps a national drug combination doasge should be passed by the FDA to be used by all states.
Graham Brewer 3:00 p.m. The execution was botched because Lockett did not die of lethal injection. He suffered a heart attack. And, I think it's fair to say that it did not go as planned.
Guest 3:01 p.m. The apathy shown by the majority of my fellow Oklahomans is appalling. The perceived humaneness relative to the nature of his crimes is beside the point, and for you to continue to validate these irrelevant, bloodlust opinions is doing all of use a disservice.The constitution of these united states prohibits cruel and unusual punishment - something federal courts have ruled on time and time again. In the rush to execute this man our state government neglected to exercise due diligence
Rocco 3:01 p.m. What are the names of the three executioners?
Graham Brewer 3:01 p.m. We will likely never know, unless they come forward themselves.
Rocco 3:02 p.m. Are the executioners paid with state funds or privately from the DOC director or warden?
Graham Brewer 3:02 p.m. They are paid with state funds., They are given $300 cash at the prison.
Graham Brewer 3:03 p.m. Okay, guys, I'm off to some more coverage of this story. I hope this was helpful. I really appreciate your involvement. Please feel free to send questions my way - gbrewer@opubco.com.
T 3:03 p.m. Post my comments Graham
T 3:03 p.m. Doubtful the criminal was convulsing.. sounds like they induced an unconscious state with versed then followed it with some vecuronium to paralyze him but then the vein blew as the K+ was injected..I bet he woke up as the paralytic was taking effect which vecuronium takes a minute sometimes a few minutes to work and started trying to move which was confused with a convulsive state.. They should have used propofol, succinylcholine, k+ possibly vecuronium after succinylcholine guarantee the guy would have held still and died like planned
Graham Brewer 3:03 p.m. There you go.
Graham Brewer 3:04 p.m. Have a good day, everyone.

by Graham Lee Brewer
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Graham Lee Brewer began his career as a journalist covering Oklahoma's vibrant music scene in 2006. After working as a public radio reporter for KGOU and then Oklahoma Watch he went on to cover the Oklahoma Senate for eCapitol before joining the...
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