Oklahoma, a state with numerous ties to the controversy over Missouri's lethal injection procedures, on Tuesday night botched what the state had hoped would be the first of two successful executions.
According to reports of witnesses, Clayton Lockett writhed in pain on the gurney after he awoke following a doctor's declaration that he was unconscious. He died of an apparent heart attack at 7:06 p.m., more than 40 minutes after the first drug was injected at 6:23 p.m.
Robert Patton, director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, said Lockett's vein had collapsed.
William Rousan, 57, was put to death this morning for killing a couple, Grace and Charles Lewis, at a southeast Missouri farm in 1993.
It was the state's sixth execution in six months -- a dramatic uptick from years past. According to our examination, Missouri will set a record next month when it carries out seven straight months of executions.
The use of the death penalty is on the rise in Missouri. I looked at the numbers recently, and the state has carried out more executions in the past five months than it has in the preceding eight years.
The Nine Network's Stay Tuned devoted a full hour to the topic: the death penalty's implementation, struggles, and of course, the secrecy surrounding its use.
With the recent run of executions in Missouri, it seemed apropos to review some of the arguments for and against the controversial subject of capital punishment. In two separate interviews, St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh did just that.
At 12:01 Wednesday morning, Missouri executed inmate Jeffrey Ferguson, marking the state's fifth execution in as many months.
Ferguson was put to death for the brutal murder and rape of a 17-year-old St. Charles County girl. The crime occurred in 1989, and the victim’s father, Jim Hall, said the punishment was long overdue.
“It’s been 25 years of pins and needles," Hall said. "Every time the appeal went up, you waited to find out what happened. That’s exactly where we’ve been. But last month, he had an [execution] date and felt some of the fear that my daughter felt.”
On Wednesday, Missouri is scheduled to carry out another execution. Although it will be the state's fifth execution in as many months, there are still numerous unknowns. Here's what we know and don't know about the upcoming execution.
When Missouri's execution drug supplier backed out after facing a lawsuit, the state found another pharmacy willing to sell it pentobarbital. But if that proved impossible, Missouri also had another option: It could use its controversial backup drug, midazolam.
Wednesday's execution of Michael Taylor marked the state's fourth in as many months - a dramatic uptick from recent years.
The state put Taylor to death for abducting, raping and killing a 15-year-old girl in 1989. Gov. Jay Nixon called the crime "wanton" and "heinous" in a statement denying clemency and said the death penalty was the appropriate punishment.
Taylor was the first Missouri inmate to be executed with a drug made by the state's new (and secret) compounding pharmacy. The previous one bowed out after facing a lawsuit once its identity got out.
Federal judges have ruled that Wednesday's execution may proceed.
District Judge Beth Phillips denied Missouri inmate Michael Taylor's requests for stays of execution early Monday morning. Her ruling was appealed to a panel of 8th Circuit judges, who affirmed her decision.
Taylor asked for his execution to be delayed for three reasons.
1. Missouri changed its drug supplier at the last minute.