Grisly New Details Emerge in Probe of Clayton Lockett’s Botched Execution

US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has famously referred to execution by lethal injection as an "enviable…quiet death." Clayton Lockett’s death was anything but quiet.
In April, Lockett’s execution in Oklahoma was badly botched and brought new scrutiny to the problems with lethal injection. The state’s Republican governor, Mary Fallin, ordered the Oklahoma Office of Public Safety (OPS) to conduct an internal inquiry into the execution. A summary was released Thursday.
The investigation, conducted largely by a bunch of investigators working for the state highway patrol, didn’t produce much new information. The report mostly absolves the state of responsibility, even as it further documents the torture inflicted on Lockett before he died. It sheds no light on the effectiveness of the new, controversial, and experimental drugs used to kill Lockett—drugs that had been predicted to cause a torturous death.
But buried in the report are some of the rarely seen minutiae involved in the machinery of death, the small absurdities of a government-sanctioned killing—the pre-execution shower, the mental-health consultations, and suicide prevention efforts—all directed at someone about to die. And inside the report is the story of a real dead man walking who clearly didn’t view lethal injection as the enviable death Scalia thinks it is.


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