Oklahoma Execution Declared Inhumane

Posted on February 9, 2015 by


On 15 January 2014, Charles Warner was executed for the murder of his ex-girlfriend’s 11-month-old daughter. Warner was convicted of this crime back in 2003, but the crime was committed in 1997. Charles was executed in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Oklahoma. The execution began at 7:10 p.m., and he was pronounced dead at 7:28.

Warner was scheduled to be executed using a three-drug combination of Midazolam, Vecuronium Bromide, and Potassium Chloride.

Midazolam is a benzodiazepine that is still not FDA-approved. Midazolam is supposed to render the prisoner unconscious. Vecuronium Bromide is a paralytic, which is meant to paralyze all muscle movement and stop respiration. Potassium Chloride’s role is to activate nerves and induce cardiac arrest.

“It seems really weird that they would use something that isn’t FDA approved in a government facility. That’s like really [inappropriate] on Oklahoma’s part,” sophomore Logan Carbaugh said.

This has been brought to the attention of the justice system because the Midazolam has been involved in multiple other executions, and some have been very inhumane.

One in particular was the very gruesome execution of Clayton Lockett, which was done in April 2014. Lockett was the second to last execution preformed in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. Another was the prolonged death of Joseph Wood which took place in July 2014.

“Why do these things happen so far away from the time the crime is committed? It really makes no sense because this happened over ten years ago,” junior Connor Underkofler said.

Warner was originally scheduled for execution on the same night as Lockett, April 29, 2014, but the execution was called off after the state took 43 minutes to execute Lockett, a controversial event that was witnessed by many media and state officials.

According to the Berkeley Law Death Penalty Clinic, “The big issue in front of the Supreme Court is whether Midazolam can reliably produce the level of unconsciousness needed to complete an execution.” It is not mentioned whether this issue will be pushed further on whether or not to ban Midazolam.

“I think that this issue needs to be pressed because I don’t think it’s fair. People shouldn’t be executed with a drug that isn’t even approved. That’s inhumane,” Underkofler said.

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