Today's Tulsa World reports, "Texas to withhold certain Lockett autopsy details after Oklahoma intervenes," by Curtis Killman.
Texas officials have agreed to keep secret certain records pertaining to the autopsy of convicted murderer Clayton Lockett, who died following Oklahoma’s botched execution attempt April 29.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott issued an opinion Friday siding with Oklahoma officials’ contention that the release of certain information, such as records identifying the supplier of lethal-injection drugs, is confidential under Oklahoma law.
However, he overruled a request by Oklahoma officials that other details of the autopsy report be kept secret.
Oklahoma officials intervened in a records request made by the Tulsa World and others after Texas officials appeared ready to release certain information that officials here argued should be kept private.
Oklahoma’s request for confidentiality contrasts with a statement Department of Public Safety Commissioner Michael Thompson made in late June that the Lockett autopsy report would be made public along with the agency’s findings.
"Former prison warden present at botched execution in Arizona hired by OK DOC," is also in today's World. It's by Ziva Branstetter and Cary Aspinwall.
Oklahoma’s Department of Corrections has hired the former warden of an Arizona prison where a lengthy botched execution occurred last month, records show.
Lance Hetmer has been hired as special assistant to DOC Director Robert Patton, a newly created position. Hetmer was the warden at Arizona’s Florence Prison complex.
On July 23, Joseph Rudolph Wood’s execution at the Florence prison took nearly two hours while the inmate snorted and gasped for breath, witnesses said. Wood was injected 15 times with an experimental combination of drugs, including midazolam, records show.
Midazolam is the same drug Oklahoma used for the first time in its April 29 botched execution of Clayton Lockett. Critics have said the drug does not qualify as a true anesthetic and has now been used in three executions that took substantially longer than typical lethal injections.
Jerry Massie, an Oklahoma Department of Corrections spokesman, said Hetmer was hired as special assistant to Patton on July 28 at a salary of $95,000. Massie said the job title is a new one for DOC but did not add a position to the agency’s staff.
“They took an existing position and retitled it,” Massie said.
When asked whether Patton was aware of Hetmer’s role in the Arizona execution, Massie said: “Director Patton came from Arizona, so I’m sure he knew what the warden’s role was.” Hetmer was offered the job before Wood’s execution, he said.
Earlier coverage of Oklahoma's botched execution of Clayton Lockett and its aftermath begins at the link. Also available, news of Arizona's botched execution of Joseph Wood. Related posts are in the botch category index.