Botched execution in Arizona

death row inmate gasped for air for 100 minutes after deadly drugs administered

Joseph Rudolph Wood gasped for over an hour during his botched execution

A condemned inmate gasped 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 emergency appeals with federal and state courts 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.

An administrator checked on Wood a half dozen times. His breathing slowed as a deacon said a prayer while holding a rosary. The 55-year-old finally stopped breathing and was pronounced dead 12 minutes later.

``Throughout this execution, I conferred and collaborated with our IV team members and was assured unequivocally that the inmate was comatose and never in pain or distress,'' said state Department of Corrections Director Charles Ryan.

Defence lawyer Dale Baich called it a botched execution that should have taken 10 minutes.

``Arizona appears to have joined several other states who have been responsible for an entirely preventable horror _ a bungled execution,'' Baich said. ``The public should hold its officials responsible and demand to make this process more transparent.''

Family members of Wood's victims said they had no problems with the way the execution was carried out.

``This man conducted a horrific murder and you guys are going, let's worry about the drugs,'' said Richard Brown, the brother-in-law of Debbie Dietz, who was 29 when she was killed in 1989. ``Why didn't they give him a bullet, why didn't we give him Drano?''

Wood looked at the family members as he delivered his final words, saying he was thankful for Jesus Christ as his saviour. At mone point, he smiled at them, which angered the family.<

``I take comfort knowing today my pain stops, and I said a prayer that on this or any other day you may find peace in all of your hearts and may God forgive you all,'' Wood said.

The case has highlighted scrutiny surrounding lethal injections after two controversial ones. An Ohio inmate executed in January snorted and gasped during the 26 minutes it took him to die. In Oklahoma, an inmate died of a heart attack in April, minutes after prison officials halted his execution because the drugs weren't being administered properly.

Arizona uses the same drugs _ the sedative midazolam and painkiller hydromorphone _ that were used in the Ohio execution. A different drug combination was used in the Oklahoma case.

Leave a comment:

showing all comments · Subscribe to comments
  1. Mark posted on 07/24/2014 07:08 AM
    I don't care. "Murder victims"? Well I guess the guy killed a few people. In that case I do not care that his execution was botched. I just want them to stop botching the executions because every time they do it adds fuel to the fire for people who want them to stop.
  2. Judi posted on 07/24/2014 10:03 AM
  3. Ted posted on 07/24/2014 11:38 AM
    Wouldn't a "botched" execution mean the person didn't die? I don't think it was botched, it just took longer then normal.
  4. Jack posted on 07/24/2014 11:58 AM
    As long as the piece of trash dies, the execution was a complete success. If he didn't want to die like this, he should have thought of that before murdering anyone.

    Personally, I think the states (and eventually, Canada) should bring back an old-fashioned French method of execution for the death penalty: the oubliette. No drugs, no bullets, no materials of any kind; just a hole in the ground that the convict is left in until he starves to death or bashes his own brains out on the wall. Zero cost to the taxpayer; we wouldn't even have to dig a hole, as long as there was a solitary confinement cell available somewhere.
  5. john posted on 07/24/2014 12:27 PM
    what ever happen to the electric char . remember those . those were cool . strap the bastard to the char . and put 10million volts into him . man that must have been fun .
  6. Karl Burgin posted on 07/25/2014 10:44 AM
    Not that I'm much rooting for the murderer, but the common sentiment is a bit frightening- the "eye for an eye" bit.
    What seems to be the belief here is that we would much rather have vengeance vs justice. We shouldn't be gleeful in watching another life depart- and in that fact, that they suffer in the process.

    Again, if the guy killed someone in my family I would be extremely pissed, and wouldn't necessarily mind using him as a punching bag. But again, I would hope that I could show restraint, and even mercy/compassion (and even forgiveness) when the time comes when his life is to be taken. Something we should all strive towards.
showing all comments

Sign Up For Breaking News Alerts

Becoming a member only takes 60 seconds! Members get access to exclusive information and products that non-members do not, including concert ticket presales, trips, advance notice on upcoming entertainment events, movie screening passes, music giveaways and more!

Login with Facebook

Stay connected 24/7! Receive breaking news and programming alerts right to your inbox. CLICK HERE to sign-up.

Today's Poll

Toronto Police have revised its policy on carding but it will remain a tool for officers to use. Chief Bill Blair calls it an "essential means to preventing crime" Do you agree?

Voting is restricted to one vote every 24 hour(s) VoteResults

Top Stories