"ARIZONA INMATE DIES 2 HOURS AFTER EXECUTION BEGAN," is the Associated Press from Arizona.
A condemned Arizona inmate gasped and snorted for more than an hour and a half during his execution Wednesday before he died in an episode sure to add to the scrutiny surrounding the death penalty in the U.S.
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne's office said Joseph Rudolph Wood was pronounced dead at 3:49 p.m., one hour and 57 minutes after the execution started.
Wood's lawyers had filed an emergency appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court while the execution was underway, demanding that it be stopped. The appeal said Wood was "gasping and snorting for more than an hour."
Gov. Jan Brewer said later that she's ordering a full review of the state's execution process, saying she's concerned by how long it took for the administered drug protocol to kill Wood.
An Associated Press reporter who witnessed the execution saw Wood start gasping shortly after a sedative and a pain killer were injected into his veins. He gasped more than 600 times over the next hour and 40 minutes.
"Execution of Arizona murderer takes nearly 2 hours," is the Arizona Republic report by Michael Kiefer and Mariana Dale. Kiefer was a media witness to the execution. There is video at the link.
The Wednesday afternoon execution of convicted murderer Joseph Rudolph Wood III took nearly two hours, confirming concerns that had been raised by his attorneys about a controversial drug used by the state of Arizona.
Wood remained alive at Arizona's state prison in Florence long enough for his public defenders to file an emergency motion for a stay of execution with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, after the process began at 1:53 p.m. The motion noted that Wood "has been gasping and snorting for more than an hour" after being injected with a lethal cocktail of drugs.
According to Arizona Republic reporter Michael Kiefer, who witnessed the execution, lines were run into each of Wood's arms. After Wood said his last words, he was unconscious by 1:57 p.m. At about 2:05, he started gasping, Kiefer said.
"I counted about 660 times he gasped," Kiefer said. "That petered out by 3:33. The death was called at 3:49."
"I just know it was not efficient. It took a long time," Kiefer said.
Another reporter who witnessed the execution, Troy Hayden, said it was "very disturbing to watch ... like a fish on shore gulping for air."
Typically, executions by lethal injection take about 10 minutes. Dale Baich of the Federal Public Defender's Office in Phoenix said "the experiment failed."
CNN posts, "Attorneys: Inmate gasped, snorted during two-hour execution," filed by Dana Ford, Amanda Watts and Jason Hanna. Again, there is video at the link.
Joseph Wood died nearly two hours after the start of his execution Wednesday, his attorney said, saying the Arizona inmate struggled to breathe for much of that time.
"It took Joseph Wood two hours to die, and he gasped and struggled to breath for about an hour and 40 minutes. We will renew our efforts to get information about the manufacturer of drugs as well as how Arizona came up with the experimental formula of drugs it used today.
"Arizona appears to have joined several other states who have been responsible for an entirely preventable horror -- a bungled execution," attorney Dale Baich said in a statement.
Troy Hayden, a media witness from KSAZ, told reporters the execution was difficult to watch. He likened Wood's breathing to a "fish gulping for air."
"It was tough for everybody in that room," he said.
Wood's attorneys had filed an emergency motion for a stay after his execution began, saying then that Wood had been "gasping and snorting for more than an hour."
"The Arizona Department of Corrections began the execution of Joseph Rudolph Wood III at 1:52 p.m. (4:52 p.m. ET). At 1:57 p.m ADC reported that Mr. Wood was sedated, but at 2:02 he began to breathe. At 2:03 his mouth moved. Mr. Wood has continued to breathe since that time. He has been gasping and snorting for more than an hour," the motion read.
It continued: "He is still alive. This execution has violated Mr. Wood's Eighth Amendment right to be executed in the absence of cruel and unusual punishment. We respectfully request that this Court stop the execution and require that the Department of Corrections use the lifesaving provisions required in its protocol."
AP has distributed, "Some lethal injection problems in US executions." It's via KTAR.
Since Texas became the first state to use lethal injection as its execution method on Dec. 7, 1982, some problems have been reported during the process nationwide. Those include delays in finding suitable veins, needles becoming clogged or disengaged, and reactions from inmates who appeared to be under stress. Some examples:
Earlier coverage from Arizona begins at the link.