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Oklahoma Agrees To Delay Executions For 6 Months

The next inmate in Oklahoma who is scheduled to die by lethal injection will get a six-month stay after the drug protocol in an execution last week went wrong.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals agreed Thursday to delay the execution of Charles Warner until an investigation of the botched lethal injection procedure on Clayton Lockett is completed. Warner is now slated to die on Nov. 13.

"If the state is allowed to enforce the ultimate penalty of death, it is incumbent upon this court to allow the state the time necessary to ensure that the penalty is carried out in a constitutionally sound manner," Justice Charles Johnson wrote in a specially concurring opinion, according to The Associated Press.

The AP writes:

"While the stay only applies to Warner, the attorney general [Scott Pruitt] and governor [Mary Fallin] have said Oklahoma will not carry out any executions until the investigation is finished, which is expected to take at least eight weeks.

"Warner was scheduled to be executed the same night [April 29] as Clayton Lockett in what would have been the state's first double execution since 1937. But Lockett's vein collapsed during his lethal injection, prompting prison officials to halt the execution. He later died of a heart attack."

After Lockett's execution, which took more than 40 minutes, the governor issued a two-week stay of execution for Warner, but the inmate's attorneys requested it be extended to six months and the attorney general's office agreed.

The Christian Science Monitor writes:

"At issue in the investigation of Lockett's death is whether the lethal-injection drugs the state used were tainted or subpar. After the usual supplier of Oklahoma's drugs stopped selling them for use in executions, the state bought pharmaceuticals for its three-drug cocktail from a pharmacy that requested anonymity, to avoid getting pulled into the debate over capital punishment. Lockett's lawyers had fought to force Oklahoma to disclose the source of the drugs, arguing that the prisoner had a right to know what drugs the state planned to use to kill him."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.

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