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Execution failure in Oklahoma: Clayton Lockett dies of heart attack after vein explodes

Oklahoma Corrections Department officials stopped the execution of Clayton Derrell Lockett just before 6:30 p.m. Tuesday after a botched lethal injection that caused Lockett’s body to violently convulse on the table. He died of a heart attack about 40 minutes later.
by Graham Lee Brewer Modified: April 30, 2014 at 10:07 am •  Published: April 29, 2014

/articleid/4744416/1/pictures/2500368">Photo - Clayton Lockett (left) and Charles Warner
Clayton Lockett (left) and Charles Warner

He was declared dead at 7:06 p.m. His death was not witnessed by the media.

Patton later announced Lockett had suffered a “blown vein” and had died of a heart attack. He said all three execution drugs had been administered, but “the drugs were not having the effect.”

Concerns about drugs

Madeline Cohen, a lawyer representing Warner, expressed deep concern over Tuesday’s execution.

“I was in the room with Mr. Warner’s family, so I could not see Clayton Lockett being tortured to death,” Cohen said.

“From our perspective, there should be no further executions in Oklahoma until a full autopsy has been done on Mr. Lockett by an independent pathologist and there has to be full transparency.”

Tuesday night, Fallin postponed Warner’s execution until May 13, “to allow the Corrections Department to evaluate the current execution protocol and to allow exhaustion of all possible legal remedies.”

The two death penalty cases have been subject to much legal wrangling and court action in the past several weeks.

Lockett was scheduled to be executed April 22, but his execution, along with Warner’s, was stayed by the state Supreme Court. The Supreme Court later dissolved its stay after an executive order from Fallin called the ruling an overreach.

The inmates initially had their executions delayed after a district judge agreed with their attorneys that a law allowing the state to keep secret its source of lethal injection drugs was unconstitutional. The inmates sued the state in January over a law allowing the state to keep its source of lethal injection drugs secret. Lawyers for the inmates argued without validating the purity of the compounded drugs likely to be used in the lethal injections, their clients had no way of knowing whether or not their civil rights would be violated.

Cohen said Lockett’s execution validated worry over the never-before-used drugs.

“My concerns are certainly are a lot less uncertain than they were a day ago,” Cohen said. “I have to say that I did not want to be validated in this way. It feels very awful.”


Editor's note: Following is previous NewsOK coverage of the legal battles over the state's lethal injection procedure, as well as the crimes, convictions and appeals of Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner.

>>Read: Condemned man's last words lead to questions about lethal injection cocktail in Oklahoma, US (Published Feb. 9, 2014)

Clayton Derrell Lockett

>>Read: Oklahoma man's death penalty upheld (Published April 1, 2013)

>>Read: Ponca City man convicted in crime spree (Published Aug. 25, 2000)

>>Read: Three Jailed in Kidnappings, Rapes, Woman's Slaying (Published June 6, 1999)

Charles Frederick Warner

>>Read: Convicted killer sentenced to death again (Published July 24, 2003)

>>Read: Death Penalty Plus Prison Assessed in Baby's Killing (Published March 13, 1999)

>>Read: Man Convicted Of Raping, Killing 11-Month-Old(Published March 12, 1999)

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, where he covered areas such as immigration and drug addiction, he went...
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Oklahoma’s execution protocol

- 50 mg/10 ml midazolam in each arm

- saline flush

- 20 mg/20cc vecuronium bromide in each arm

- saline flush

- Potassium chloride 100 meq/50cc in each arm

“Prior to the administration of vecuronium bromide or a comparable non-depolarizing neuromuscular blocking agent, the physician present in the Execution Room will monitor the condemned offender’s level of consciousness through whatever means the physician believes are appropriate, to ensure that the condemned is sufficiently unconscious prior to the administration of the blocking agent. The physician may monitor the condemned offender with an EKG monitor and/or stethoscope. The blocking agent will NOT be administered until at least 5 minutes after the beginning of the administration of the midazolam.”

Source: Department of Corrections protocol manual

Clayton Derrell Lockett

Age: 38

Age at time of crime: 23

Convicted: Oct. 5, 2000, in Noble County of first-degree murder

Case background: Lockett was convicted in the murder of Stephanie Neiman, 19, of Perry. Neiman’s friend had asked Neiman to drive to a friend’s house to ask if he would like to attend a party. Neiman waited in the truck while the third victim went into the house. Once inside, the third victim found her friend, Bobby Bornt, severely beaten and bound. The third victim was attacked by Clayton Lockett before being forced to coax Neiman inside the home. All three were beaten before Lockett and his accomplices, Alfonzo Lockett and Shawn Mathis, loaded the three victims into two pickups and drove them to a rural Kay County road. Lockett ordered Mathis to dig a grave while Neiman watched. He took Neiman at gunpoint to a ditch and shot her with a shotgun. When the shotgun jammed, he returned to the truck to fix it and then shot Neiman a second time as she pleaded for mercy. While Neiman was still alive, Lockett ordered his accomplice to bury her. He later described to investigators how Stephanie was still alive and choking on the dirt as they buried her alive.

Charles Frederick Warner

Age: 46

Age at time of crime: 30

Convicted: July 23, 2000, in Oklahoma County of first-degree murder

Case background: Warner was convicted in the rape and murder of his roommate’s 11-month-old daughter, Adrianna Waller, on Aug. 22, 1987. Adrianna’s mother, Shonda Waller, had left her daughter and three other children with Warner. When she returned, she found Adrianna unresponsive. The girl was pronounced dead at a hospital with multiple serious injuries. Warner’s son testified that he saw his father violently shake Adrianna because he didn’t like her crying.


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