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May 2, 2006

More lethal injection drama in Ohio

As if we needed more drama added to the debates over lethal injection, today in Ohio there was extended difficulty completing the execution of a defendant.  (Notably, I believe this defendant did not even bother to challenge the method by which he was executed.)  This AP story provides the basics:

Ohio executed a man Tuesday following a delay of more than an hour because of unprecedented difficulty administering the lethal injection.  Joseph Lewis Clark, 57, died by injection at 11:26 a.m. at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility for killing a gas station clerk during a spree of robberies in 1984 in which he also killed a convenience store worker.

The execution was set to begin at 10 a.m. It was the longest delay since the state resumed executions in 1999, state prisons spokeswoman Andrea Dean said.  The execution was slowed as the execution team worked to find a vein in his right arm.

Clark said, "These don't work" and "They're not working" as the team tried to start the injection. After 25 minutes of trying to find a vein, a curtain separating the death house from witnesses was pulled shut.  Clark could be heard moaning and groaning from behind the curtain.  When the curtain reopened at 11:17 a.m., Clark had two shunts in his left arm. "This has never happened," Dean said of the delay.

How Appealing has links to additional news coverage here, and more background and details and links can be accessed here at the Ohio Death Penalty Information blog.

UPDATE: At CNN.com you can read here the Reuters report on the Clark execution, which is running with the headline, "Killer executed the hard way: Condemned man sits up and tells executioners, 'It's not working'."

May 2, 2006 at 12:38 PM | Permalink

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