September 30.2022 Update
January 10, 2018
The electric chair could make a comeback in South Carolina.
S.C. state senators Wednesday discussed making it easier for the state Corrections Department to carry out death sentences by electrocution – an option that hasn’t been used in nearly a decade.
The proposal is necessary, some senators say, because the state can’t get its hands on the chemicals necessary to carry out lethal injections.
Lawmakers on Wednesday also considered a proposed “shield law” to protect the identities of pharmaceutical companies that provide chemicals for lethal injections. Those companies currently won’t sell to South Carolina, fearing legal challenges, protests and bad publicity.
Neither proposal moved forward Wednesday, but a state Senate committee plans to discuss the ideas more this spring.
South Carolina last used the electric chair in June 2008 for the execution of James Earl Reed. The 49 year old was convicted in 1996 of the execution-style murder of his ex-girlfriend’s parents.
The state hasn’t executed any death row inmates since March 2011. In part, that is because the last of the state’s lethal injection chemicals expired in 2013.
The state can’t execute any of its current 36 death row inmates – all men – unless they ask to be killed in the electric chair, Corrections Department director Bryan Stirling told senators Wednesday.
None of the death row inmates have made that request, Stirling said.
In 2008, Reed, who fired his own defense attorney and unsuccessfully represented himself, was the first S.C. inmate in four years to choose electrocution over lethal injection.
Because it cannot be carried out, South Carolina’s death penalty is ineffective, senators were told Wednesday.
“We’ve had people on death row for over two decades now,” said Stirling, who took over the prisons system in 2013.
One death row inmate is scheduled to be executed later this month but is expected to get a postponement from a federal court so his appeal can be heard, Stirling told the Senate panel. If that delay isn’t granted, the state quickly is approaching an execution it can’t carry out.
“It’s possible that can happen,” Stirling said.
Don Zelenka, an attorney in the state Attorney General’s Office, said at least one S.C. prosecutor has opted not to pursue the death sentence because the Corrections Department can’t do the job.
A proposal by state Sen. William Timmons, R-Greenville, would change that. The former assistant solicitor’s bill would allow the Corrections Department to use the electric chair when lethal injection is unavailable.
State Sen. Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg, said he could support the proposal because it helps corrections officers do their jobs, even though he disagrees with the death penalty, which, critics say, is an ineffective deterrent more often used on minorities and the poor.
“This, to me, is a question about efficiency, not about the death penalty,” Hutto said.
Hutto and others were more skeptical of Timmons’ other proposal, the “shield law.”
Lindsey Vann, executive director of the Columbia-based Justice 360 nonprofit, which represents death-row inmates, called that proposal a “secrecy” law that would “create a state secret out of administering the death penalty.”
Shielding pharmaceutical companies’ identities would absolve them of accountability and create the potential for botched executions, Vann said. “If the government is going to exercise this power … they should do so in a transparent manner and with accountability to the citizens of this state.”
Stirling told senators the state’s electric chair, located at the Broad River Correctional Institution in Columbia, still works.
South Carolina has executed 282 inmates since 1912, including 280 men and two women. Of those executed, 208 were black and 74 were white. The youngest inmate executed was 14; the oldest was 66.
Corrections officials began using lethal injection in August 1995, two months after state lawmakers OK’d the practice.
DEATH ROW AND SC
1995: S.C. legislators approve lethal injection to execute inmates on the state’s Death Row; however, those inmates can opt for electrocution
June 2008: Late S.C. inmate electrocuted
March 2011: Last S.C. inmate executed by lethal injection
282: Inmates S.C. has executed since 1912
280: Men executed
2: Women executed
208: African Americans executed
74: Whites executed
66: Oldest inmate executed
14: Youngest inmate executed
Convicted murderer Scott Dozier is scheduled to be executed Nov. 14, 2017, the first execution in Nevada in 11 years. (STAYED)
He will be able to request a last meal, provided it can be prepared at Ely State Prison; no outside food can be brought in.
Below are the last meal requests of prisoners executed in the state of Nevada since July 1954.
Leroy Linden, executed July 15, 1954 for the murder of Clarence Dodd.
Salami, roquefort cheese and anchovies
Frank Pedrini, executed July 15, 1954 for the murder of Clarence Dodd.
Steak and chocolate ice cream
Earl Lewis Steward, executed Feb. 24, 1960 for the murder of Thomas Jessen.
Chicken, vegetable soup, cherry pie, cheese and coffee
Thayne Archibald, executed Aug. 21, 1961 for the murder of Albert Waters.
Filet mignon, tossed salad with Thousand Island dressing, asparagus, baked potato with sour cream and an unspecified dessert
Jesse Bishop, executed Oct. 22, 1979 for the 1977 murder of David Ballard.
Jumbo shrimp, french fries, tossed salad with French dressing, clam chowder, cookies and candy
Carroll Cole, executed Dec. 6, 1985 for the 1979 murder of Marie Cushman.
Four double bacon cheeseburgers, french fries and a large Coke
William Paul Thompson, executed June 19, 1989 for the 1984 murder of Randy Waldron.
Sean Patrick Flanagan, executed June 23, 1989 for the 1987 murders of James Lewandowski and Albert Duggins.
Pizza with anchovies, apple pie, chocolate ice cream, jelly doughnuts and soft drinks
Thomas E. Baal, executed June 3, 1990 for the 1988 murder of Frances Maves.
Lasagna, chicken Parmesan, salad and ice cream
Richard Allen Moran, executed March 30, 1996 for the 1984 murders of Sandra Devere, Russell Rhodes and Linda VanderVoort.
No special request — standard inmate meal
Roderick Abeyta, executed Oct. 5, 1998 for the 1989 murder of Donna Martin.
Steak, rice, corn, applesauce and a Sprite
Alvaro Calambro, executed April 5, 1999 for the 1994 murders of Peggy Crawford and Keith Christopher.
Crab salad, French bread, 4-ounce lobster tail, mango, cheesecake, vanilla ice cream and aloe juice
Sebastian Stephanous Bridges, executed April 21, 2001 for the 1997 murder of Hunter Blatchford.
Cheeseburger with onions, pickle and tomatoes; french fries; three slices of pepperoni pizza; one pint each of vanilla, chocolate and chocolate chip ice cream; apple; banana; orange; a 20-ounce Coke and a 20-ounce Pepsi
Lawrence Colwell Jr., executed March 26, 2004 for the 1994 murder of Frank Rosenstock.
Two cheeseburgers and a Coke
Terry Jess Dennis, executed Aug. 12, 2004 for the 1999 murder of Ilona Straumanis.
Fish sandwich, french fries and lemon-lime soft drink
Daryl Mack, executed April 26, 2006 for the 1988 murder of Betty Jane May.
UPDATE JULY 10, 205
|14||MO||David Zink EXECUTED 7.41 PM|
|15||OH||Alva Cambell, Jr. – STAYED*|
|15||OH||Warren K. Henness – STAYED|
|16||TX||Clifton Williams STAYED|
|12||TX||Daniel Lopez executed|
|18||TN||David Miller – STAYED|
|17||OH||Angelo Fears – STAYED*|
|17||OH||William Montgomery – STAYED^|
|6||TN||Abu-Ali Abdur’Rahman – STAYED|
|17||OH||Cleveland R. Jackson – STAYED*|
|17||OH||Robert Van Hook – STAYED^|
|17||TN||Nicholas Sutton – STAYED|
April 29, 2014
McALESTER, Okla. — What was supposed to be the first of two executions here Tuesday night was halted when the prisoner, Clayton D. Lockett, began to twitch and gasp after he had already been declared unconscious and called out “man” and “something’s wrong,” according to witnesses.
The administering doctor intervened and discovered that “the line had blown,” said the director of corrections, Robert Patton, meaning that drugs were no longer flowing into his vein.
At 7:06 p.m., Mr. Patton said, Mr. Lockett died of a heart attack.
Mr. Patton said he had requested a stay of 14 days in the second execution scheduled for Tuesday night, of Charles F. Warner.
It was a chaotic and disastrous step in Oklahoma’s long effort to execute the two men, overcoming their objections that the state would not disclose the source of the drugs being used in a newly tried combination.
It did not appear that any of the drugs themselves failed, but rather the method of administration, but it resulted in what witnesses called an agonizing scene.
“This was botched, and it was difficult to watch,” said David Autry, one of Mr. Lockett’s lawyers.
A doctor started to administer the first drug, a sedative intended to knock the man out, at 6:23. Ten minutes later, the doctor said that Mr. Lockett was unconscious, and started to administer the next two drugs, a paralytic and one intended to make the heart stop.
At that point, witnesses said, things began to go awry. Mr. Lockett’s body moved, his foot shook, and he mumbled, witnesses said.
At 6 :37, he tried to rise and exhaled loudly. At that point, prison officials pulled a curtain in front of the witnesses and the doctor discovered a “vein failure,” Mr. Patton said.
The appeals for disclosure about the drug sources, supported by a state court in March, threw Oklahoma’s highest courts and elected officials into weeks of conflict and disarray, with courts arguing over which should consider the request for a politically unpopular stay of execution, the governor defying the State Supreme Court’s ruling for a delay, and a legislator seeking impeachment of the justices.
The planned executions of Mr. Lockett, 38, and Mr. Warner, 46, dramatized the growing tension nationally over secrecy in lethal injections as drug companies, saying they are fearful of political and even physical attack, refuse to supply drugs, and many states scramble to find new sources and try untested combinations. Several states have imposed secrecy on the suppliers of lethal injection drugs, leading to court battles over due process and the ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Lawyers for the two convicts said the lack of supplier information made it impossible to know if the drugs were safe and effective, or might possibly violate the ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Officials swore that the drugs were obtained legally from licensed pharmacies, and had not expired. Gov. Mary Fallin, expressing the sentiment of many here, said: “Two men that do not contest their guilt in heinous murders will now face justice.”
But that question was overshadowed by Tuesday night’s disastrous mishap, which is certain to generate more challenges to lethal injection, long considered the most humane of execution methods.
Mr. Lockett was convicted of shooting a 19-year-old woman in 1999 and having her buried alive. Mr. Warner, condemned for the rape and murder of an 11-month-old girl in 1997, was to be executed two hours later. .
The two men spent Tuesday in adjacent cells, visited by their lawyers and, in Mr. Warner’s case, family members. The hulking white penitentiary here in a small town of southeast Oklahoma, amid prairies now green from soaking spring rains, is the prison from which Tom Joad is paroled in the opening pages of John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath.”
In keeping with the untried drug protocol announced by the Corrections Department this month, Mr. Lockett was first injected with midazolam, a benzodiazepine intended to render the prisoner unconscious and unable to feel pain. This was followed by injections of vecuronium bromide, a paralyzing agent that stops breathing, and then potassium chloride, which stops the heart.
This combination has been used in Florida, but with a much higher dose of midazolam than Oklahoma is planning to use. Without effective sedation, the second two drugs are known to cause agonizing suffocation and pain.
Oklahoma and other states have turned to compounding pharmacies — lightly regulated laboratories that mix up drugs to order. Opponents have raised questions about quality control, especially after the widely reported dying gasps of a convict in Ohio for more than 10 minutes, and an Oklahoma inmate’s utterance, “I feel my whole body burning,” after being injected with compounded drugs.
Mr. Lockett and Mr. Warner were scheduled to be executed in March, but officials said they had been unable to buy the drugs, and the executions were delayed. Oklahoma later said it had found a federally approved manufacturer to provide the drugs, but refused to identify it.
Oklahoma’s attorney general, Scott Pruitt, derided the lawsuits over drug secrecy, calling them delaying tactics. Many legal experts, especially death penalty opponents, say otherwise.
“Information on the drug that is intended to act as the anesthetic is crucial to ensure that the execution will be humane,” said Jennifer Moreno, a lawyer with the Berkeley Law School’s Death Penalty Clinic.
Elsewhere, Texas has refused to reveal where it obtained a new batch of compounded drugs; a challenge is before the State Supreme Court. Georgia passed a law last year making information about lethal drug suppliers a “confidential state secret”; a challenge is also pending in that state’s top court.
This month, the United States Supreme Court declined to hear suits attacking drug secrecy in Missouri and Louisiana.
But three of the justices expressed interest and the issue seems likely to be considered by the Supreme Court at some point, said Eric M. Freedman, a professor of constitutional law at Hofstra University who considers the secrecy a violation of due process.
In March, it appeared that Mr. Lockett and Mr. Warner had won the right to know more about the drugs when an Oklahoma judge ruled that the secrecy law was unconstitutional. But the judge said she did not have the authority to grant the men stays of execution, sending the inmates into a Kafkaesque legal maze.
The state has an unusual court system, sending criminal appeals to a top criminal court and civil matters to its Supreme Court. The Court of Criminal Appeals repeatedly turned back the Supreme Court’s order to rule on a stay, while the attorney general insisted that the executions would go ahead.
Last Monday, the Supreme Court said that to avoid a miscarriage of justice, it would delay the executions until it had time to resolve the secrecy matter.
The next day, Governor Fallin, a Republican, said the Supreme Court had overstepped its powers, and directed officials to carry out both executions on April 29. An outraged legislator, Representative Mike Christian, said he would seek to impeach the justices, who were already under fire from conservative legislators for striking down laws the court deemed unconstitutional.
A constitutional crisis appeared to be brewing. But last Wednesday, the Supreme Court announced a decision on the secrecy issue — overturning the lower court and declaring that the executions could proceed.
April 29, 2014
Clayton Lockett’s execution was slated to begin at 6:00p.m.
At 6:37 Clayton Lockett was not unconscious and said something is wrong.
Oklahoma Dept. of Corrections closed the blinds on Clayton Lockett at 6:39
Execution stopped at 6:39 after Clayton Lockett started moving and talking.
Clayton Lockett’s execution has been suspended.
The state of Oklahoma has botched the execution of Clayton Lockett. His status is unknown right now.
Execution of Clayton Lockett failed. Execution of Charles Warner stayed by corrections director Robert Patton.
Clayton Lockett died inside the execution chamber at 7:06 pm of a massive heart attack according to DOC officials.
Oklahoma halts execution after botching delivery of new drug combination, postpones 2nd execution
Source: Agencies, April 29, 2014
April 25, 2014
CNN) — Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner’s executions are back on the schedule for next week after Oklahoma’s high court lifted their stays, saying they had no right to know the source of the drugs that will be used to kill them.
The inmates, who are being held at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, where they are slated to be executed by lethal injection Tuesday, had challenged the state’s so-called secrecy provision, which forbids disclosing the identities of anyone involved in the execution process or suppliers of any drugs or medical equipment.
Lockett and Warner also challenged the state Department of Corrections’ failure to divulge which drugs would be used, but the department disclosed what drugs it intended to use before the high court’s decision: midazolam, which causes unconsciousness, along with pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride, which shut down breathing and the heart.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court said the only remaining issue, then, is whether the state’s failure to disclose its source for the drugs prevents the prisoners from challenging their executions using the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. The court decided it did not.
“This court holds that the secrecy provision … does not violate the inmates’ constitutional right of access to the courts,” the Wednesday ruling said.
Attorney Seth Day, who represents both men, called the ruling unacceptable and told CNN affiliate KFOR that there was no way to know if the prisoners’ executions “would be carried out in a constitutional and humane manner.”
“It’s not even known whether the lethal injection drugs to be used were obtained legally, and nothing is known about their source, purity, or efficacy, among other questions,” he told the station. “Oklahoma’s extreme secrecy surrounding lethal injection undermines our courts and democracy.”
Attorney General Scott Pruitt applauded the decision, saying the state had a longstanding precedent of keeping the drug sources secret to avoid “schemes and intimidation used by defense counsel and other anti-death-penalty groups.”
“These death row inmates have not contested their guilt for murdering two innocent victims nor have they contested their sentences of death. The legal wrangling of the attorneys for Lockett and Warner has served only to delay their punishment for the heinous crimes they committed,” he told KFOR.
Lockett was convicted in 2000 of a bevy of crimes, including first-degree murder, first-degree rape, kidnapping and robbery in a 1999 home invasion and crime spree that left Stephanie Nieman dead and two people injured. In 2003, Warner was convicted for the 1997 first-degree rape and murder of his then-girlfriend’s 11-month-old daughter, Adrianna Waller.
The constitutionality of lethal injection drugs and drug cocktails has made headlines since last year, when European manufacturers — including Denmark-based Lundbeck, which manufactures pentobarbital — banned U.S. prisons from using their drugs in executions. Thirty-two states were left to find new drug protocols.
“The states are scrambling to find the drugs,” Richard Dieter, executive director of the Washington-based Death Penalty Information Center, said in November. “They want to carry out these executions that they have scheduled, but they don’t have the drugs and they’re changing and trying new procedures never used before in the history of executions.”
If Lockett and Warner are executed next week, they would be the 194th and 195th inmates Oklahoma has executed since 1915.
April 22, 2014
Lawyers for a Missouri death row inmate on Tuesday were seeking to halt his execution over concerns about the state’s secret lethal injection drugs a day after an Oklahoma court stopped two executions there over similar issues.
William Rousan, 57, is scheduled for execution at 12.01am CST on Wednesday. Rousan was convicted of murdering 62-year-old Grace Lewis and her 67-year-old husband, Charles Lewis, in 1993 in a plot to steal the farm couple’s cattle.
Attorneys for Rousan have argued that Missouri’s secret execution drugs could cause undue suffering. The eighth US circuit court of appeals on Monday rejected Rousan’s appeal, and the case was headed to the US supreme court.
The action follows a decision issued on Monday by the Oklahoma supreme court that halted the executions of Clayton Lockett, scheduled for Tuesday, and Charles Warner, scheduled for April 29. The court said the inmates had the right to have an opportunity to challenge the secrecy over the drugs Oklahoma intends to use to put them to death.
Lawyers for death row inmates in several states have raised a series of arguments against the use of compounded drugs for executions. Many states have turned to the lightly regulated compounding pharmacies for supplies because makers of drugs traditionally used in lethal injections have largely stopped making them available for executions.
But the lawyers argue that drugs obtained for lethal injections from compounding pharmacies could lead to undue suffering, which would amount to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the US constitution. They also say they should have information about the legitimacy of the supplier, and details about the purity and potency of the drugs.
Prison officials have rejected those arguments and have been refusing to reveal where they are getting the drugs.
But Louisiana and Ohio this year have seen executions delayed because of concerns about suffering that might be caused by untraditional drug supplies. The family of one inmate executed in Ohio in January has filed suit against the state because, according to some witnesses, he took an unusually long time to die and appeared to be in pain.
Last year, Missouri started classifying compounding pharmacies as part of its execution team and said the identities of the pharmacies were thus shielded from public disclosure.