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My Two Cents: When Death Sentences Go Wrong

Updated on January 20, 2015

UPDATED VIDEO: New details

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - Oklahoma State Prison

6:23 P.M. McAlester, Oklahoma. Supervised by Director Robert Patton, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections administered a lethal injection to 38 year old Clayton Derrell Lockett, a death row inmate.

His crime, while heinous, isn't relevant to "how" his execution was carried out, except that it was the reason "why" it was carried out. To read the details, they are provided a little further in this article under the subtitle "The Crime." (Sorry, I still can't get the table of contents list to show up correctly.)

The state of Oklahoma recently began using a new three drug combination for their lethal injection process, in keeping the death penalty humane. (If there were ever an oxymoron, that would be it!)

They do not use machines to dispense the drugs into IV lines but still administer them by hand in a syringe injected into the IV. Two IV's were inserted, one into each arm, and three executioners each took turns injecting one of three drugs using hand held syringes. It was the state's first time using these particular three-drugs for an execution.

The delivery order of the lethal injection was: Midazolam (to cause unconsciousness), Vecuronium Bromide (to stop respiration) and Potassium Chloride (to stop the heart).

When after several minutes, the expected reaction was not observed, Director Patton said the reason he stopped Lockett's execution because of a vein failure which left Lockett writhing on the gurney, shaking uncontrollably.

Some witnesses said Lockett was struggling to speak, then officials blocked all the witnesses' view by closing the blind.

More details are supplied in the reporter's video.

No witnesses to the botched execution once the blinds closed

Director Patton said that after administering the first drug, they began to push in the second and third drugs. When they noticed the drugs were not having the desired effect, the doctor said one of the veins where the IV line had been inserted had blown. Patton said "Lockett's vein had exploded." He said he halted the execution and that Lockett later died of a heart attack.

This isn't exactly the way the eye-witnesses tell it, nor how the videos I've watched play this out. The Governor wasn't even there and had a press conference to issue a statement. In her case, this is a fine example of either "Whispering Down The Lane" OR "How To Spin A Bad Situation So The State Doesn't Look So Bad."

The official government spin on this situation came from Governor Mary Fallin when she issued a statement saying that "execution officials said Lockett remained unconscious after the lethal injection drugs were administered." Obviously this wasn't true, because other eyewitnesses said differently. She has since called for an "independent review" of their system, but it is, in effect, just going through the motions as you may agree when you read the article here.

One of Lockett's lawyers, David Autry, said: "This was botched, and it was difficult to watch."

Another witness Ziva Branstetter told a broadcaster from MSNBC that Lockett was thrashing about and appeared to be in pain.

Cary Aspinwall of the Tulsa World newspaper said Lockett was still alive, lifted his head and before he could see or hear any more, the prison officials lowered the blinds to shield Lockett from view.

Reporting for CNN, Courtney Francisco of KFOR said Lockett raised his head and said "Man," "I'm not," and "something's wrong." She said the injection process started at 6:23PM, Lockett was unconscious at 6:33 PM, started to convulse at 6:36 PM, the curtains were closed at 6:39 PM.

Lockett was pronounced dead from a massive heart attack at 7:06 PM. This implies they did not give any more drugs to complete the execution. The last picture the witnesses have of Lockett is his uncontrollable thrashing around, being in pain and highly agitated. Did prison officials leave him that way for the remaining 40 minutes?

CNN Reporter Courtney Francisco raises the question that may become a pretty big deal in the next weeks. At the 7:30 mark on the following video she says that the witnesses were there to witness the execution, since by law, it was their duty to make sure it was carried out.

Once the blinds were closed, that was not possible. Prison officials told the witnesses and the media that Lockett died 40 minutes later of a heart attack. But with no witnesses, who is to say that is true. No one witnessed his death. Saying it is a heart attack essentially means they did not follow through with the rest of the lethal dose of medication..

This is not the last we will have heard about this case.

An eyewitness reporter describes the botched execution. Look at 7:30 onward - this will become an illegal execution because there were no witnesses

Foreseeable Future Of Oklahoma's Lethal Injections

One death row inmate is breathing a sigh of relief at this turn of events.

Charles Warner is the next person on the Oklahoma Department of Correction's execution list and he was due to be executed on May 13, 2014.

His lawyers hastily applied for and have been granted a 180 day stay for Warner, while the Attorney General investigates Clayton Lockett's botched execution.

Warner's new execution date is November 13, 2014.

What The Public Is Saying About The Botched Lethal Injection

A death row inmate's execution was botched so that he suffered for 42 minutes before dying of a heart attack that smacks familiar of the botched crime he committed in June 1999. Many people wrote in on various television news and newspaper websites:

"Isn't he the animal who shot the woman then watched his pals bury her alive? A botched murder deserves a botched execution."

"I hate to sound cold or spread malice...but it got the job done right? Karma..."

  • A view replied: "Yes, he was sentenced to die. He was not sentenced to be tortured to death. I am sure Jesus would not have cheered his pain."

"Wait -- someone died at an execution?! That doesn't sound "botched" -- that sounds "successful"

"Botching" a few more might send a message!"

  • A reader replied: "I am disgusted at the pro agony statements. Is this what an enlightened society creates."

"How does his vein collapsing equate a "botched" execution? He obviously had bad veins if they had problems locating a vein. This can happen during any IV procedure. This is not the DOC's fault. I am sick of all the bad PR for our state."

  • A viewer replied: "Witnesses said he was healthy as a horse - and no such bad vein problem - that it might have been a different problem - hope we get real answers from the autopsy."

"They have released the timeline of the execution and had to search his body for a suitable vein before they finally found one near his groin that was acceptable."

  • A reader replied: "It also stated he refused food. If he was not drinking he could have been dehydrated which would cause vein issues. Then again karma may have bit him."

"For those of you who enjoyed the fact that this murderer suffered for 42 minutes before he died of a heart attack…………….you are no better than the murderer. I am FOR the death penalty but if this hick state can’t carry it out properly………..I may become anti-death penalty.

"Oklahoma voted for torture and concentration camps when they elected Bush in 2004."

The Sentence

August 2000 - Clayton Derrell Lockett, age 24, was convicted of first degree murder, conspiracy, first degree burglary, three counts of oral sodomy, four counts of first degree rape, three counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, four counts of kidnapping, and two counts of robbery by force and fear regarding a crime spree that left 18 year old Stephanie Nieman dead and two others injured.

After more than three hours, a jury came back with a guilty verdict. In the penalty phase, he was sentenced to 2,285 years plus 90 days of imprisonment.

The Crime

June 1999 in Perry, OK. With shotgun in hand, 23 year old Clayton Derrell Lockett leading his 17 year old cousin Alfonzo Locket, and 27 year old friend Shawn Mathis kicked the door in to Bobby Bornt's house, saying he wanted money Bornt owed him for removing his tattoo.

After gagging him and duct taping his hands behind his back, all three men beat Bornt, then ransacked his house looking for drugs, finding Bornt's 9 month old baby boy Sam sleeping in the bedroom. Bad timing brought Summer Hair and Stephanie Nieman knocking at the door so that they were brought in, duct taped and beaten when Nieman wouldn't turn over the keys or passcode to disarm to her pickup truck. Both women were raped multiple times by all three men.

Because Nieman now said she would call the police if and when she was set free, the trio piled Bornt, his son Sam, Summer Hair and Stephanie Nieman into Bornt's pickup and Nieman's pickup, drove them to rural Kay County, OK. and after more raping and beating, Nieman was shot by Clayton Lockett.

In a turn of events that would play out at Lockett's execution, he botched the first time he shot her because the shotgun jammed. Nieman's muffled screams were heard as she lay in a ditch dug by Mathis, waiting for Lockett to fix the gun. When he did, the second time he shot her was in the dead.

Lockett told Mathis, who dug the ditch, to finish burying Nieman's body. She was still alive as he continued to shovel dirt on her. The group returned to Bornt's house where all were warned if they told anyone, they'd be killed also.

The next day, Bornt and Hair told Perry OK police what happened. Nieman's pickup and body were found exactly as they said, and both Locketts and Mathis were arrested that night at the home of Shawn Mathis in Enid, OK.

Clayton Lockett was interviewed three times. The first time he asked for a lawyer, which stopped the interview. The second time he denied shooting Nieman. The third time he confessed to killing her. It was corroborated by Bornt, Hair, and later by Alfonzo Lockett and Shawn Mathis who were tried separately.

.----Paraphrased from news reports and court documents.

This was Clayton Lockett's third strike.

In 1996, Clayton Lockett was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty in Kay County to conspiracy to commit embezzlement. He was released from prison in August 1998.

In 1992, he pled guilty in Kay County to burglary and knowingly concealing stolen property. He received a seven-year prison sentence. Earlier that year, he pleaded no contest to two counts of intimidating state witnesses.

As of December 2013, these are the numbers

Numbers of death penalties carried out and the methods
Numbers of death penalties carried out and the methods
Public regarding the death penalty
Public regarding the death penalty

Rachael's Trivial Points of Interest for the Trivia-Minded Reader™

ƒ Mistaken eyewitness identifications account for approximately 73% of the 311 wrongful convictions in the United States, which were overturned by post-conviction DNA evidence.

---- The Innocence Project

ƒ The average length of a prison sentence served by prisoners who were exonerated by DNA is 13.6 years. --- CNN, Cases by the numbers

ƒ Michael Morton spent 25 years in prison for the murder of his wife who was attacked and killed at their home in Williamson County, Texas. Michael was at work, but still he was a suspect.

"Innocent people think that if you just tell the truth then you've got nothing to fear from the police," Morton says now. "If you just stick to it that the system will work, it'll all come to light, everything will be fine."

Instead, Morton was charged, ripped away from his young son, and put on trial. The prosecutor, speaking to the jury in emotional terms with tears streaming down his face, laid out a graphic, depraved sexual scenario, accusing Morton of bludgeoning his wife for refusing to have sex on his birthday.

With the help of The Innocence Project, he was freed on April 2011.

ƒ Oklahoma's current death penalty law using lethal injection has been in effect since 1977. The original death penalty law in Oklahoma called for executions to be carried out by electrocution. In 1972 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional the death penalty as it was then administered. A total of 190 men and 3 women were executed between 1915 and 2014. 82 were electrocuted, one was hanged, and 110 by lethal injection. The last electrocution was in 1966. The first lethal injection was September 10, 1900 with the execution of Charles Troy Coleman who was convicted in 1979 of First Degree in Muskogee County. (Source: clarkprosecutor.org)


My Two Cents

I first want to say I respect all opinions - whether one is "for" or "against" lethal injection as a method of carrying out the death penalty. While it does have some bearing on the opinions expressed by the above quotes, the opinions are not solely reliant on it, as you can see by those who refer to the Bible and Jesus Christ in their comments.

I'm not one of those Bible bangers who makes statements that "Jesus wouldn't approve of this type of punishment," or that "an eye for an eye is what the Bible says." I'm a Christian (albeit, a thoroughly confused Christian due to years of Catholic education), I just don't go around quoting the Bible or pushing quotes and religion in people's faces.

Since 1976 (see above charts) when lethal injection first started to be used as the "humane" way of executing our criminals (in many states), I agree that it is a humane solution after seeing what the electric chair can do to a body.

But I also think it should only be for the guilty who have confessed, those who were caught in the act, or where there is video tape (store, surveillance, etc.) to back up their guilt.

Eyewitnesses are not always reliable, but in some venues, many eyewitnesses get together to form a quorum to insure guilt.

I don't agree the death penalty should be used for all those who are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

I do believe that all should be punished for their crimes.

But I tend to first favor incarceration for one very good reason. Years after the fact, many convicts are being found innocent, the manner of their convictions and investigations have come under fire and their cases are overturned, all because of DNA.

If we kill someone by lethal injection, where DNA later proves them to be innocent, then it is tough luck for the dead convict. You can undo death. If they are incarcerated, there is still an opportunity to undo a wrong.

Actually I favor exporting criminals to an island out in the middle of the deep blue sea where no other land can be seen, where the security is such that pirate laws exist.

Is that realistic? No, it is not. Yet.

In this case of a botched lethal injection, it is rather ironic that Clayton Lockett botched the killing of his victim 18 year old Stephanie Nieman with a jammed shotgun and that 15 years later, his own execution was botched. Irony has a way, along with karma, of doing that.

I'm going to leave you with a few questions hoping to spur your opinions and comments.

Did Clayton Lockett deserve to suffer for over 40 minutes until he died? Do you think that was inhumane? Or his just desserts?

Does the medication delivery system used in Oklahoma need to be revamped so that something like this doesn't happen again?

Lockett was guilty by admission as well as by co-conspirators giving him up, sealing his third strike fate which meant that he would get life in prison (no matter what crime he committed). Unless sentences are worded "Life without possibility of parole" LIFE doesn't mean life. A prisoner has to serve 75% of the life sentence to be eligible for parole.

Do you think that Life sentences should be worded "LIFE with no parole?" Or do you believe everyone should have a chance at parole after serving 75% of sentence?

Lockett had been habitually released on probation after serving half or almost half of the sentence handed down in his past incarcerations. Do you think people are just bad to the bone, or do they become that way as products of their environment or life experiences?

What is your opinion of this botched execution? There are some links in the sidebar so you can learn some more information about this case and about botched executions.

Update August 25, 2014

Oklahoma stopped lethal injections until they investigate this matter, but President Obama ordered a federal review of ALL state execution protocols, not just for Oklahoma. In other words, he ordered it, but not a word has been heard since. So the lawsuits are starting to be filed now.

Other countries have abolished death sentences for various reasons, but the main thing I wanted to share with this update is that the United States relies on other countries to supply them with the ingredients of the lethal injection cocktails they need to carry out death sentences.

If a country is not in favor of the United States death penalty, they are within their rights to stop supplying the United States with the product.

Do we ever hear about this part? No!

So when there are not enough ingredients, the government is doing what you would do if you didn't have enough sugar to make a cake - they substitute.

The sugar substitute you would use may not be up to the standard ingredient called for in the recipe and can possibly make your cake taste funny, lean to one side or even fall.

Substitutes sometimes alter the way the whole product looks in the end (a glitch) and if not measured correctly, you can have quite a different looking (botched) product to put on your table for your guests.

Do you toss it in the garbage or do you serve it? Well, you might figure it is okay to taste it to see if it is any good, and sometimes you can salvage some part of it so you can serve it up and not disappoint your guests.

The same is true with the government's use of lethal injection. Because their supplies are denying them a supply of the original product they need, they are substituting a similar product which is supposed to have the same effect as the original, but the outcomes, as we are seeing, are slightly different.

The "patient" either doesn't respond to the recipe "substitution" the same way as the original ingredient, or because the "chemist" didn't allow for the potency and pro-action of the drug as it interacts with the others in the syringe, now the expected outcome has been "botched!"

In company with two news organizations, the ACLU's staff attorney Lee Rowland filed a lawsuit stating:

“The state of Oklahoma violated the First Amendment, which guarantees the right of the press to witness executions so the public can be informed about the government’s actions and hold it accountable. The death penalty represents the most powerful exercise of government authority. The need for public oversight is as critical at the execution stage as it is during trial.”

The thing that gets me about this is they are ticked off because the blinds were closed! It is a knee-jerk little kid reaction - How dare you close the blinds on us!

To hell with the fact that the cocktail was altered and the prisoner, Clayton Lockett, suffered.

They filed this lawsuit to force Oklahoma Prisons to let all spectators watch executions from beginning to end - from the time the prisoner enters the chamber until the "dead" prisoner is removed.

You can continue reading here, but I especially want you to view the (non-graphic) video at the link, because it will prove what I wrote here to be true ...not only the reasons why the United States has been substituting the ingredients in the lethal injection cocktail which has resulted in botched executions, but the fact that they actually DO.

The US government has never admitted this before because the US doesn't give out bad press notices about themselves.

Scroll down the page at the link and read about other states besides Oklahoma who have lawsuits filed against them for electric chair and the latest report that it took FIFTEEN doses to kill a prisoner in Arizona!

Thanks for stopping back here to read the update.

Update: September 15, 2014

The video which originally appeared at the top of this article was from execution day when the initial reports were made. It showed the actual prison building, the execution chamber, the viewer gallery, some of the officials who were administering the lethal injection before the curtains were closed and interviews with family members, reporters who were present and other spectators.

I did not make or own the video. Like other authors here on HubPages, I rely on YouTube videos made by other parties in order to enhance my article or make my points for me.

All videos from the week of the execution have been pulled from YouTube, especially those where the process was questioned, the word "botched" was used or questions in the video left the viewer hanging.

The video I have substituted has evidently passed the sniff test since it has posted on May 2, 2014. It shows modulars and is a good representation of how I wanted to present this article.

Thank you.

©Rachael O'Halloran, May 14, 2014

Rachael's Trivial Points of Interest for the Trivia-Minded Reader™


© 2014 Rachael O'Halloran

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  • Jodah profile image

    John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

    Interesting subject Rachael. I had heard a little about the botched execution of Clayton Lockett, but not a lot. The crimes he was convicted of were terrible, but I don't think he should have suffered as he obviously did at the end. We don't have the death penalty anywhere in Australia and I don't really agree with it, because I have heard of too many convicted murderers later being found innocent. As you say in the hub, death can't be overturned.

    An interesting read. Voted up.

  • bravewarrior profile image

    Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

    I think that, rather than let him suffer for 40 minutes, they should have re-administered the injections.

  • DDE profile image

    Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    Wow! What a way to go. I agree with Jodah the wrongfully accused and not so well planned deaths are just too much to cope with. A great topic here and much to think about.

  • MsDora profile image

    Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

    This is an unfortunate incident. I do not think that the executioners intended for the man to suffer. They were probably confused about what was happening.

  • vkwok profile image

    Victor W. Kwok 3 years ago from Hawaii

    The death penalty will always be an issue, now and forever. What these inmates and others like them truly deserve is a matter of opinion. This is a very thought-provoking hub, Rachael. Thumbs up.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
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    Rachael O'Halloran 3 years ago from United States

    #vkwok, This one was a bit disturbing for me to write. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
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    Rachael O'Halloran 3 years ago from United States

    #Ms Dora, it was a new cocktail they were trying out. I think they learned a very valuable lesson but unfortunately at the expense of another. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
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    Rachael O'Halloran 3 years ago from United States

    Thank you to all for reading and commenting

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

    If we didn't have the death penalty it is hard to tell the heights of crime we would have so I suppose for that reason alone I am for it and I actually think it should be a death sentence for anyone raping a child with 100% proof. Too many men walk away from these crimes and whether that child dies or not it has a life sentence I think knowing that perpetrator no longer exists is the only peace they could now have. I do think hell will take care of all of them eventually for eternity but why should their rights be above the victims and why should they be kept up in comfort paid for by us? Maybe this man that had the botched execution got right with the Lord before he went but just owed a little price of justice? That's not so bad, if so.

  • teaches12345 profile image

    Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

    You pose an interesting question on this topic. I have heard of innocent people being sent to die and it is frightening. I only hope that the system improves through the next decade.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
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    Rachael O'Halloran 3 years ago from United States

    #Jodah, I'm not up on laws in other countries, but I do know you live in a beautiful country and it doesn't surprise me that Australia doesn't have the death penalty. It is rather barbaric when you think about it and certain barbarism is not something I associate with your lovely country. I even put a friendly face on aboriginis when I read historical accounts. lol

    I used to be on the fence about the death penalty issue, but with The Innocence Project overturning so many cases of injustices against people by falsifying or carried out with little evidence, I have changed my tune. No, we can't bring back the dead if suddenly info comes to light to show the wrong person was put to death for a crime he didn't commit.

    I like the "shipping off to another planet" idea, permanently "out to sea on a ship" idea and "marooned on a deserted island" idea, but killing people to exact and eye for an eye or thinking it rights a wrong, doesn't work for me anymore.

    Thank you for reading and commenting

    Rachael

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
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    Rachael O'Halloran 3 years ago from United States

    #Jackie Lynnley,

    I think with the way this went down, the majority of venial debts are probably paid, but the mortal ones will last forever, no matter if the perpetrator gets death or a life sentence. Yes, it may give some comfort to the victim, but somewhere in the back of my mind (just from my perspective, not the victims), I can't help but think that "playing God" is not what Our Heavenly Father meant for us to do.

    It is true we need a system in place to keep order, but perhaps a permanent "time" punishment (before days of death penalties), as opposed to the finality of death would be less aggregious (sp?).

    I'm not a death penalty fan in recent years, because of the Innocence Project's overturning cases to free people who were never guilty in the first place.

    In my younger years I was gung ho and believed an eye for an eye, but as I got older I had to think about it....who has the right to exact that eye for an eye? People who had nothing to do with the wrong in the first place? In my view, that makes two wrongs - two deaths. I'm supportive of punishment for crimes, I just don't think maiming and killing people for them is the answer that so many countries use to try to deter future crimes.

    In your comment about maybe he got right with the Lord before he went, that may have been true, as it is for so many who are faced with finality of death. But no one deserves to suffer at the hands of a "controlled" penalty. When one thinks about it, it wasn't like they could test drive the injections first, so if there was anything wrong with the new cocktail when they used it for this first time, they should have had a backup plan in place, like giving another shot right away as bravewarrior had said, so that picture of his botched execution wouldn't be in the minds of the spectators who were there.

    Thank you for your comment,

    Rachael

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
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    Rachael O'Halloran 3 years ago from United States

    #teaches12345 - I used to think the system couldn't get much worse. Then, humans prove they can find more barbaric ways to harm each other (criminals and justice system) and it only makes me wonder if the system will ever improve. Thank you for reading my article and for visiting me hubs as often as you do :)

    Rachael

  • Jodah profile image

    John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

    Rachael, the "shipping off to another planet idea" sounds interesting...a little like the British did with convicts to Australia in the 1700's. They ended up colonising this 'new world'. Australian Aborigines are generally a happy and friendly race of people. It was only after violence was shown towards them that they sometimes fought back in the early days of Australian settlement.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
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    Rachael O'Halloran 3 years ago from United States

    #Jodah, yes I have only learned more about them when I got older and began doing historical work.

    I guess what I meant to say is - when I was in school, aborigines weren't always written in a favorable light in our history books, more derogatory than not. History tends to show the negative side of certain cultures. I just meant that I never looked at them that way. It is interesting what some countries teach their school children about cultures of other countries and as with all things historical, it is almost impossible to get an impartial view on any culture - in books, narratives or in media. Thanks for coming back to comment

  • nighthag profile image

    K.A.E Grove 3 years ago from Australia

    Here in Australia we do not have the death penalty ...

    And there are times when it is easy to wish that we did, after all there a certain crimes that just seem to be so monstrous, that the vengeance in us demands that something stronger then life in life in jail be done about it ...

    That being said having survived through a violent assault, which so easily could have resulted in my death, I have always taken comfort in the thought that I am, we are as a society better then these monsters that seem so willing to rape, murder and destroy.

    It's a sad day indeed when justice is as bad as the crime that brought the convicted to death row in the first place...

    This was a great, well balanced read with many good points on both sides...

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
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    Rachael O'Halloran 3 years ago from United States

    #nighthag, I'm sorry you went through such a terrible experience and I can't begin to imagine what it would be like to be in your shoes or to be able to objectively view both sides of this argument if I had been assaulted.

    I know me. I can't be objective if I have been hurt. I don't suppose I'm unlike other people in that regard.

    When it comes to death penalties, the object was to make the method of death more humane. Clearly the Clayton Lockett accident with the injections was not humane by any stretch of the imagination.

    Looking at the overall concept, aside from euthanasia for a terminal illness, when is killing someone considered humane?

    It should not be. Not from victim's standpoint and not from the criminal's standpoint.

    That's where I have the problem. I agree with what you say about justice being as bad as the crime. That was exactly my point in my previous comments.

    Killing a criminal is a definitive answer to detering THAT criminal from committing future crimes, but it won't deter future criminals from committing crimes.

    "Life in prison should mean life." I think a criminal cooling their heels in a "no frills prison" for life -plus a thousand years, is far more preferable than being an executioner.

    As I stated previously, if a prisoner were by some miracle ever found to be not guilty with the discovery of provable evidence, the executioners (government entities who decide our laws) won't have anything to regret.

    Thank you for reading and for your comment.

    Rachael

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

    Well if going for it under a christian view Jesus said he did not come to do away with the law and God made the law of an eye for an eye. I hate it too except I think it is the only deterrent to crime and how can we keep supporting murderers and half of Mexico in our prisons? I mean the president set how many thousands free on us supposedly because we couldn't afford to keep them in prison so now they are just in this country let loose on our babies and old people and everyone else? So yes; if I have to choose I choose death for the murderers; not us.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
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    Rachael O'Halloran 3 years ago from United States

    #Jackie Lynnley, Thanks for coming back to comment again.

    Supporting convicts in prisons only got more expensive when it was decided that prison conditions had to be upgraded. Some white collar criminals have country club prisons, what kind of prison is that? lol

    In 1990, prisoner pay kicked in at higher rates and amenities in prisons were upgraded to make some of them a home away from home.

    I don't agree that the doors should be flung open and let them run loose in society. After all, there was a reason they weren't deemed fit to walk among us anymore in the first place. Taking away some of those expensive amenities would have been better than sifting thru the prison roles to decide which prisoners were free-able.

    I still like my prison ship permanently drifting at sea (very little fuel, eat what they catch) a lot better than some of the other ideas I've heard. I'm not saying it is THE answer, but it is better than letting them loose.

    This is a problem that will never go away and never be adequately decided to everyone's liking. As far as capital punishment is concerned, that is also a subject that everyone has an opinion on, to which we are all entitled. :)

    Thank you for commenting

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

    Thank you, yes I see everyone does have a right to their opinion and as I say it does bother me too to murder. Really most of them are not quite human but like mad dogs that have temporarily been chained. But if we have to put them just out there somewhere I would prefer to shoot them to the moon than be adrift where they can land ....somewhere! lol

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
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    Rachael O'Halloran 3 years ago from United States

    #Jackie Lynnley, Yes, I've read about a prison planet in fiction novels. I remember a few years ago someone brought it up in Congress, but it wasn't enough to bait them to consider it with their space budget. :) The moon also sounds good to me, although I was looking for a long term solution on the cheap route. lol

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

    The government probably is afraid half of them may get sent there. Sounds like a good idea to me! I see what you mean though; and I think prisoners should be made to work for their board like it use to be. Now though they could sue I am sure if they were made to do anything! Well; I will give you a rest now and not be back; just something of interest. I shared!

  • Phyllis Doyle profile image

    Phyllis Doyle Burns 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

    The botched execution was horrible, but, then so was the crime he committed. I think God had a hand in the suffering of Lockett so that the man could die with the memory of the suffering he caused his victim. Rather than die by just going to sleep, Lockett may have died asking forgiveness of the horrible thing he did, and maybe that is what God had intended. This sounds so very harsh, I know, but this is my opinion.

    As for "to the moon", NO - Grandmother Moon is too sacred to many cultures to be loaded up with criminals. Can you imagine a group of people doing their sacred ceremony and honour to the Moon knowing there were murderers up there? That would have a horrific effect on many belief systems around the world. Firing squads are cheaper.

  • Phyllis Doyle profile image

    Phyllis Doyle Burns 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

    I agree with Jackie -- prisoners should have to work their fannies off to pay for their board and keep. Many prisoners have it much better than the homeless, the elderly, the low income families and the mentally ill.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
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    Rachael O'Halloran 3 years ago from United States

    #Phyllis Doyle

    I am not a fan of sending anyone to the moon as a prison planet. I was just suggesting ANY planet into the conversation. lol I much prefer a ship at sea with Pirate Laws, the works. It seems to me that sometimes, things were much easier when we didn't have so many laws in place. Prison farms, so many years at hard labor, less amenities but just enough to remain human and humane. It doesn't sound so bad to me, but then I'm on this side of the law and not the criminal side of the law and to them, I'm sure the very thought is abhorrent.

    Thank you for commenting Phyllis and for the add on G+1. :)

    Rachael

  • Elizabeth Bowers profile image

    Elizabeth Bowers 2 years ago from Tennessee

    Very sensitive topic you tackled here, and I applaud you for your tactful and interesting response to this situation. I'll admit, although I'm a Christian, I struggle with anger and vindictiveness when it comes to heinous crimes like this, and I want to say more than anything that he got what he deserved, and if it were really just, he'd go through exactly what he inflicted upon that poor girl. But I also realize that isn't the way our society is built, and I believe that God doesn't intend for us to judge others in that way, so I also think that it was an incident that probably could have been avoided and it wasn't right constitutionally or morally for him to suffer to that extent.

    Very controversial topic you covered here, and you obviously did your research and the article is very well put together and organized. This was a case that disturbed me completely - the crime disturbed me, not necessarily the botched death sentence - and it is interesting to hear a diplomatic response that isn't ranting.

    You are a breath of fresh air, and I look forward to reading more of your Hubs!

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
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    Rachael O'Halloran 2 years ago from United States

    #Elizabeth Bowers

    Thank you, new follower, for reading my lengthy hubs full of controversy and all. lol And you didn't take my diatribes as ranting!? lol.

    Well, as you can see from the comments under this hub, everyone has their own feelings about this topic. All come from a different perspective, some Christian, so moral, some left, some right.

    While I do believe some other failsafe measure should have been in place in case something were to ever go wrong, I don't think this man did not have to suffer as he did - no matter what crime he did. I don't care if he killed 100 people. The fact that his execution was scheduled but not well planned says that the state government has no business being in the killing business.

    The notion that we have lethal injection and it is supposed to be a painless death - more humane, I'm told - but the more humane thing to do would not have been to stand around like Chicken Little, but to do something about it.

    I am sure the executioners present will have the indelible imprint on their minds of what that man looked like as he writhed for 40 minutes after the initial injection and rightly so. Not one of them came up with a solution within that 40 minutes to either 1) put him out of his misery or 2) offer medical attention.

    The word "botched" doesn't begin to cover what they did, acting like a bunch of bumbling backwoods inexperienced people. Lockett would have been better off making an escape attempt and getting shot in the back by five sharpshooters. At least it would have been less controversial, less painful I'm sure, and swifter.

    Thank you for reading, for your comment and new follow.

    Rachael

  • joedolphin88 profile image

    Joe 2 years ago from north miami FL

    The death penalty is a real tough topic. Bravo for writing about it. Being shot in the back would have been a thousand times better.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
    Author

    Rachael O'Halloran 2 years ago from United States

    #joedolphin88,

    It is a tough topic and thank you for reading and commenting.

    Rachael

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 2 years ago from Taos, NM

    Very interesting, informative and well researched. I am against the death penalty because it is not given out fairly. Mostly black men and other minorities are the ones who get the death penalty. White men rarely get the death penalty and the death penalty is given out to those in poverty who cannot hire the fancy lawyers 'to buy' the justice they need. Rich white men do not ever get the death penalty. I think any method of the death penalty (hanging, electric chair, guillotine, lethal drugs etc) is cruel and inhumane and is never justice. I think the death penalty should be abolished here in the U.S. and I applaud the European and other countries of the world who will not aid the U.S. in its quest of drugs or whatever to extend the death penalty in this country. I believe it is one of the most barbaric of situations in the U.S. But, I respect your opinion.

  • RachaelOhalloran profile image
    Author

    Rachael O'Halloran 2 years ago from United States

    #suzettenaples

    Hello. Thank you for your interesting comment and for stating that you respect the opinions of others because there are a lot of opinions in the comments, as well as my own in the article.

    I can't agree that minorities are the ones who mostly get the death penalty. It is not doled out according to race or poverty level. As for white men rarely getting the death penalty, if they are rich, they do buy their way out - you are right about that - because they can afford to grease the palms of those who can help them. My issue is with Rich Boy Prisons - there shouldn't be any. A crime is a crime, and a cell should be a cell.

    From all that I have studied over the years, the death penalty is doled out according to set statutes about the crime committed, with aggravating circumstances upping the antes to add more time as a judge sees fit.

    I think the fact that minorities seem to be on the receiving end is because minorities seem to commit more crimes than other members of society.

    Pretty soon, in this century or shortly after, white people will be the minority and there will be a shift in prison population demographics.

    I think the reason for minority demographics of the imprisoned people at this time in our history is partly because of widespread illegal immigration, open borders, accidents of birth, and inter-racial marriages.

    White people are being filtered out of the race pool. White people tend to be better educated, therefore able to get decent jobs, and have little reason to commit crimes to feed whatever habits are being supported with commission of crimes. They can afford to support them. White people tend to commit crimes like Ponsy schemes where they put one over on unsuspecting investors, or some other crimes having to do with embezzlement - things that revolve around money and their efforts to get more of it.

    As I said in my article, I tend to first favor incarceration for one very good reason. Years after the fact, due to our quickness to convict and poor handling of evidence, many convicts are being found innocent, the manner of their convictions have come under fire and their cases are overturned all because of DNA.

    I do believe that all should be punished for their crimes and in the beginning of this whole lethal injection protocol, it was explained as a painless way.

    But as happens with all things, we are only told enough to keep us happy so we agree it is a better thing and we are not told the entire truth.

    The truth is lethal injection is not as painless as they have told us it was, nor is it foolproof as all can see from the past botched reports.

    Because of this case and several others like it, I still believe we need to punish criminals because it is a deterrent to others who are going down the same path. But as heinous as their crimes are, I don't think we have to inflict the same degree of pain on them because of it. My mother used to say that there was nothing wrong with spending 4 hours in your room as a punishment for wrongdoing and that the time would be "reflective" as well as "corrective."

    To that end, there is nothing wrong with prisoners spending time in a cell - without all the bells and whistles that modern prisons seem to have today - with one hour in every 24 hours in supervised areas for exercise.

    It is the way things used to be done and it seems to me we didn't have half the problems we are experiencing today with lawsuits about prisoner treatment, botched executions, and prison riots. Thank you for taking the time to read my article and to comment.

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