OKLAHOMA (USA): CHARLES WARNER EXECUTED
January 15, 2015: Charles Warner, 47, Black, was executed in the state's 1st lethal injection since a botched one last spring.
The execution was delayed for about 90 minutes while prison officials waited for final word from the U.S. Supreme Court. Prison officials announced around 6:30 p.m. that the court had denied the appeal. The court's 5 conservative justices denied the request for a stay of execution without comment. But the 4 liberal justices issued an 8-page dissent in which they questioned the drug protocol. The split vote also covered the last ditch appeal of Johnny Shane Kormondy, who is set to be executed in Florida.
It was the 2nd time Oklahoma used the sedative midazolam as part of a 3-drug method, which had been challenged by Warner and other death row inmates as presenting an unconstitutional risk of pain and suffering. Warner was originally scheduled to be executed on April 29, on the same night as Clayton Lockett, who began writhing on the gurney, moaning and trying to lift his head after he'd been declared unconscious. A Florida execution using the same method as Oklahoma's was eventually carried out after being temporarily put on hold when the condemned killer raised similar questions with justices.
Oklahoma prison officials ordered new medical equipment, more extensive training for staff and renovated the execution chamber inside the Oklahoma State Penitentiary to prevent the kind of problems that arose during the execution of Clayton Lockett in April. Lockett writhed on the gurney, moaned and tried to lift his head after he'd been declared unconscious, prompting prison officials to try to halt his execution before he died. Attorneys for the state say a failed intravenous line and a lack of training led to the problems with Lockett's injection, not the drugs.
Still, Oklahoma ordered a five-fold increase in the sedative dose. Both Oklahoma and Florida start their executions with the surgical sedative midazolam, which has been challenged in court as ineffective in rendering a person properly unconscious before the 2nd and 3rd drugs rocuronium bromide, which stops an inmate's breathing, and potassium chloride, which stops the heart, are administered, creating a risk of unconstitutional pain and suffering. By increasing its midazolam dosage to 5 times the amount, Oklahoma plans to mirror the exact recipe that Florida has used in 10 successful executions.
Warner was convicted in the August 22, 1997 killing of Adrianna Waller, his girlfriend's 11-month-old daughter. The infant's mother, Shonda Waller, in January last year told defense lawyers in a videotaped statement that a lethal injection for Warner would be a ‚Äúdishonor‚ÄĚ to her daughter Adrianna's name and against her religious beliefs. ‚ÄúI don't see any justice in just sentencing someone to die‚ÄĚ, Waller said. ‚ÄúTo me, the justice is in someone living with what they have done to you, your family, and having to live with that for the rest of their life knowing they will never walk out those bars‚ÄĚ. ‚ÄúI don't hate him. I have forgiven him‚ÄĚ, she continued. ‚ÄúAs a Christian woman you know that you have to forgive anyone in order to even move on with your life‚ÄĚ. The statement was played for Oklahoma's parole board in March when Warner was up for clemency.
Warner becomes the 1st inmate to be put to death in Oklahoma this year, the 112th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1990, the 3rd to be put to death this year in the USA and the 1397th overall since executions resumed on January 17, 1977. (Sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin, KTUL news, KOCO news, NBC news, USA Today, 15/01/2015)