Oklahoma City: Oklahoma`s attorney general`s office says drugs previously readied for a second scheduled execution this week will be tested as part of an investigation into the first execution that ended with an inmate`s fatal heart attack.
Drugs intended for Charles Warner`s execution were never used after Clayton Lockett`s execution went awry. In a letter today, Assistant Attorney General Kindanne Jones said the Department of Corrections saved the lethal drugs set aside for Warner`s execution, which was stayed for two weeks. Jones said attorneys for Lockett and Warner may have access to the drugs if any are left over after the state`s analysis is complete.
Before Lockett`s execution, the state had refused to provide the source of the execution drugs, citing state law that allows such details to remain confidential.
The botched execution has renewed the debate of the death penalty in the United States and intensified criticism overseas. On Tuesday the United Nations human rights office in Geneva said Clayton Lockett`s execution may amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment under international human rights law.
In Washington, Obama said at a news conference that he believes the death penalty is merited in some cases and that Lockett`s crimes were heinous, but added the penalty`s application in the US has problems, including racial bias and the eventual exoneration of some death row inmates.
"What happened in Oklahoma is deeply troubling," Obama said. He added: "I think we do have to, as a society, ask ourselves some difficult and profound questions around these issues."
He said he`s asking Attorney General Eric Holder for an analysis of the penalty`s application.
Lockett`s prolonged death was under scrutiny in Geneva, where a United Nations human rights office spokesman, Rupert Colville, said it was "the second case of apparent extreme suffering caused by malfunctioning lethal injections" reported in the United States this year, after Dennis McGuire`s execution in Ohio on January 16 with an allegedly untested combination of drugs. States have been scrambling to find new sources of drugs as several pharmaceutical companies, many based in Europe, have stopped selling to US prisons and corrections departments that conduct executions.
Oklahoma officials said Lockett`s autopsy report will take two to three months to complete.