"Something's Wrong"

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Last night, an execution in Oklahoma went horribly wrong, with Clayton Lockett writhing on a gurney for 43 minutes before eventually dying of a heart attack, rather than the untested cocktail of drugs administered to him. Katie Fretland, freelance reporter who witnessed the execution and wrote about it for The Guardian, discusses the case, and Mother Jones reporter Stephanie Mencimer provides context about the Oklahoma case and executions in the United States.


Katie Fretland

Comments [27]

Steve Aaron from New York City

1. To avoid the "cruel punishment" quandry, bring back firing squads. We know rifles work. A couplem of shots to the chest or head will ensure no pain or suffering.

2. Someday, Brian, perhaps you will show more empathy for the victims and their families than you consistantly show for the killers. Personally, I feel NO outrage or even concern for this execution "problem" did not go totally bad because ultimately this monster died. Brian and too many in America focus on the imprisoned killer because he or she is still alive while forgotting the victim and the rest of the and friends. If you do not won't end up on death row.

May. 01 2014 01:54 PM

MHuarachi ~

...couldn't agree more!

Apr. 30 2014 04:06 PM

@IMHO I agree there is a slippery slope with such actions as executions. If there is doubt then it must be investigated and judged by jury and a special council of peers. A case by case review is needed.

Apr. 30 2014 11:39 AM

Executing someone as punishment for having committed a horrific crime is wrong, but dropping bombs where countless INNOCENT, even guilty, men, women and children die horribly, is acceptable. Maybe these anti death penalty people would not be opposed if the murderers got relabeled "collateral damage" or for the sake of our national interest, enemies.Anyone who commits pre meditated murder is after all an enemy of society. Unless one is a total pacifist, opposition to the death penalty is at heart complicity with a might makes right, survival of the fittest, only the strong survive, ethos. The death penalty affirms the reverse; solidarity with the weak, defenseless victim.

Apr. 30 2014 11:28 AM

America really is the melting pot. Beliefs, ideals, and practices. Democracy? Oligarchy? BYOP Buy Your Own Politics?

Persistent and systematic racism, classism, sexism, discrimination/condemnation of sexual diversity, are allowed to exist, not only half-heartedly, but THRIVE within our "democracy". Oligarchy is more appropriate for the environment in which allows the first African American president to stand idle while his brothers and sisters remain in chains.

Lock em' up and throw away the key, while the prison industrial complex grows larger and more powerful. Test those new deadly drug cocktails on the black and browns of American gutter society while the slimy monsters of crooked Wall Street, corporate America, the biggest banks, and the darkest hall of American government commit more systematic and deadlier crimes than burying a white girl alive in the ground. Bless her soul.

Forgiveness? Mercy? Compassion? I don't think so. Not we, Americans! We have no heart for criminals, thieves, murderers, spys, immigrants.

So, why dispose of the extra deadly drug cocktail in the lifeless corpses of these criminals past when there are larger, wealthier, whiter, and more sinister monsters to try, prosecute, and execute?

I say let's at least have a consistent attitude about our practices of institutional racsim (i.e. Supreme Courts (Roberts' Court)and classism and let's use those extra kill-drugs on the unattractive monsters who bear our chains. Rip the metal links from their hands, and put Clapper, Obama, Cheney, Bush, Rice, Roberts, Diamond, Boehner, Rumsfeld, Blair, Thatcher, Petraeus, Kissinger through trial. Let's test our drugs on the world's most deadliest people...our highest ranking officials!

Apr. 30 2014 11:27 AM
Steven from Brooklyn

The segment was introduced with the statement that we are bearing witness. The guest later stated that the lethal injection process was developed for the benefit of the witnesses not the person being put to death. Perhaps we should reflect on the costs of our moral narcissism.

Apr. 30 2014 11:26 AM


This is the problem with the "culture of life" No abortion, No executions and no euthanasia. The issue is black or white but grey. Each issue should be taken on its own. Apr. 30 2014 11:04 AM]]

The question is, who gets to decide when to end a life? Given the many ways to arrive at a wrongful conviction (faked evidence, coerced confessions, rush to conviction, incompetent representation, inept judges, false testimony), do we want the state to have the authority to kill people?

Apr. 30 2014 11:11 AM
The Truth from Becky

He is dead right? Dead is Dead.

Apr. 30 2014 11:09 AM

This is the problem with the "culture of life" No abortion, No executions and no euthanasia. The issue is black or white but grey. Each issue should be taken on its own.

Apr. 30 2014 11:04 AM
pam from ny

This guest is correct: this happened because the sedative didn't work adequately. Potassium burns when it is infused into an unanesthetized vein. Nothing happened that was "horrific" (your word, Brian).

Apr. 30 2014 11:04 AM
Nancy from NYC

Why don't we just give them a bottle of Scotch and a big handful of sleeping pills?

Apr. 30 2014 11:03 AM

Although I am against capital punishment, it is ironic that the chinese and mobsters have a more humane way of execution with a single bullet to the back of the head. What made traditional hanging or shooting squad less humane?

Apr. 30 2014 11:02 AM
Phillip from nyc

I bet if this woman had witnessed this man's horrible rapes and murders she would be singing a different tune.

Wish I'd had 10 minutes alone with this maniac and shown him what justice feels like. So glad he suffered. I am not religious but this almost makes me believe in Divine Justice.

Apr. 30 2014 11:02 AM

A listener -

Thank you.

Apr. 30 2014 11:00 AM
Nora from NYC

I agree with "a listener" -- there are other ways to kill people if that's what we want to do. (Personally, I find giving the State the power to kill us is a BAD idea.)

Truly, if it was me, I'd prefer a firing squad. At least it's a sure thing, and over real fast.

Apr. 30 2014 11:00 AM
Jolly Old

England in the 1300s

[[First he was drawn, that is, tied to a horse and dragged to the gallows. The remainder of the punishment might include hanging (usually not to the death), usually live disemboweling, burning of the entrails, beheading, and quartering. This last step was sometimes accomplished by tying each of the four limbs to a different horse and spurring them in different directions.]]

Apr. 30 2014 11:00 AM

"…an execution gone so horribly wrong."

Isn't that redundant??

Apr. 30 2014 10:57 AM
Pascale from Atlanta

If you don't want an execution to go wrong, you don't execute people. Period.

Apr. 30 2014 10:56 AM
A listener

It seems to me that state's have settled on lethal injection because we as a society are conflicted about the death penalty. We want to kill the person, but we seem to want to leave the inmate's body intact, almost so we can deny what we did.

If the goal is to kill the inmate, why not a beheading? Why not a firing squad? Why not death by stoning?

Apr. 30 2014 10:55 AM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

Can't keep the man down!

Apr. 30 2014 10:55 AM
Tara from NY

What possible justification could there be for State of Oklahoma officials keeping secret the drugs they use for executions other than to make their own lives easier and less combative and covering their own behinds? Shameful lack of transparency and keeping information from the public for no good reason.

Apr. 30 2014 10:55 AM
francyne pelchar from pelham bay park

Give be a break! Who cares how much this piece of scum struggled or suffered....what about his victim(s)? He and his fellow monsters deserve any and all suffering.

Apr. 30 2014 10:55 AM

Somebody explain why the same people who are strict constructionists when it comes to the Second Amendment are willing to be flexible on the Eighth.

Apr. 30 2014 10:53 AM
john from office

Brian do a show on the young woman he killed, lets be fair. Who cares about this human garbage.

Apr. 30 2014 10:53 AM
Phillip from nyc

This man murdered a young couple, buried a young woman ALIVE and said he could hear her muffled choking as he dumped soil onto her and killed her in the worst possible way imaginable.

Perhaps thus was God's way of punishing him?

Perhaps we should not care so much about how he died considering what he did, I for one, am glad and think he got what he deserved.

Hope he suffered a lot.

Apr. 30 2014 10:52 AM

According to the NY Times, Lockett did not say the words "something's wrong." It was a prison official.

[[Because of inaccurate information provided by a witness, an earlier version of this article also misidentified the person who said, “Something’s wrong” during the execution of Clayton D. Lockett. It was a prison official, not Mr. Lockett.]]

Apr. 30 2014 10:51 AM
Tara from NY

Bring back the firing squad!

Apr. 30 2014 10:50 AM

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