McALESTER â€” Oklahoma officials executed a convicted murderer Thursday using a drug combination that includes a sedative commonly used to euthanize animals, after a nationwide shortage of a key ingredient forced the state to tinker with the usual formula.
John David Duty was pronounced dead at 6:18 p.m. at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. The 58-year-old, who was sentenced to die for strangling his cellmate nearly a decade ago, is believed to be the first person in the U.S. whose execution included the use of pentobarbital.
Strapped to a gurney and wearing an eye patch over his right eye, the heavyset Duty apologized to the family of his victim.
â€œI hope one day you'll be able to forgive me, not for my sake, but for your own,â€ Duty said. â€œThank you, Lord Jesus. I'm ready to go home.â€
He also acknowledged three of his attorneys and his brother and sister-in-law, all of whom witnessed the execution from an adjacent room. â€œYou've all been a blessing,â€ he told them.
The lethal drugs began to flow at 6:12 p.m., and Duty's breathing became labored one minute later. At 6:15 p.m., he appeared to stop breathing, and the color began to drain from his face.
â€œThere didn't appear to be any issues with the new drug,â€ Oklahoma Department of Corrections spokesman Jerry Massie said afterward.
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