Left Not Blameless for ‘Botched’ Oklahoma Execution

?????????????????There’s nothing like an execution to stoke the animosity in people.  Those opposed to the death penalty spew their reasons why it should be abolished and those supporting it typically step down into the gutter with the opposition and argue why it should be continued.  The ‘botched’ execution in Oklahoma last night has certainly set off a firestorm of opinions on both sides.  Naturally, what happened to the murderer being executed is being pounced on by death penalty opponents as a reason why executions are cruel.  Some are saying it is a violation of the Eighth Amendment restriction against cruel and unusual punishments.  While that would possibly be a valid argument if what happened to Clayton Lockett was, in fact, the sentence as ordered by a court and intended to happen, it was not ordered or intended.  To be fair, let’s look at what is being reported as happening.

News OK – The execution, which was supposed to start at 6, began at 6:23 p.m. The three-drug cocktail was then administered to Lockett, who had no last words. Lockett was declared unconscious 10 minutes into the process but he mumbled at three separate moments. The first two were inaudible, however the third time he said the word “man.”

Sixteen minutes into the procedure, Lockett grimaced and tensed his body several times over a three-minute period, his head rising from the gurney and his feet kicking several times. A medical professional lifted the sheet covering Lockett’s body to check the vein in his right arm just before officials closed the curtains in the execution chamber and shielded witnesses from what was happening.

He was declared dead at 7:06 p.m. His death was not witnessed by the media.

Patton later announced Lockett had suffered a “blown vein” and had died of a heart attack. He said all three execution drugs had been administered, but “the drugs were not having the effect.”

After Lockett’s death, Governor Mary Fallin issued a 14 day stay of execution for Charles Warner, who was to have been executed two hours after Clayton Lockett last night.  In a statement, she said, “I have asked the Department of Corrections to conduct a full review of Oklahoma’s execution procedures to determine what happened and why during this evening’s execution of Clayton Derrell Lockett.”

News sites and Twitter were abuzz after Lockett’s death with strong opinions being expressed from both sides.  I was not surprised to see many people expressing the opinion that Lockett got what he deserved, that they hoped he suffered, that Warner should suffer the same fate, etc.  What most articles describing the events last night fail to mention is exactly what it was Lockett did that landed him on death row.

Washington Times – “What I think I want you to understand is the sheer terror that (the victims) experienced that night,” [Retired District Attorney Mark L.]Gibson said. “All of them were beat to hell. They were told they were going to die.”

On the night of the killing, Lockett, one of his cousins and a friend entered Bobby Bornt’s home in Perry, seeking repayment of a $20 debt. The three men bound Bornt and beat him with a shotgun while his 9-month-old son slept in the next room.

Nieman and a friend dropped by to invite Bornt to a party, and they were bound with duct tape. Nieman’s friend was beaten and raped by two of the men before the victims were loaded into two pickup trucks and driven to a rural dirt road.

Lockett admitted in the confession that he originally intended to kill the three adults because he feared police would learn he had violated terms of his probation from a previous felony.

After Nieman said she would tell police, he forced her to kneel while Shawn Mathis, a co-defendant, took about 20 minutes to dig a shallow grave. Lockett shot the girl in the shoulder, pushed her into the grave and shot her again in the chest before ordering Mathis to bury her alive.

According to an attorney general’s report on the crime, the three laughed about how tough the woman was as the dirt piled up atop her.

Clearly, Clayton Lockett is a cold-blooded killer and most definitely deserved the death penalty.  But I would disagree that he should have suffered and experienced what some death penalty opponents are calling “torture.”  No, I do not have sympathy for this murderer.  What happened to him is unfortunate, but it was unintended and a rare occurrence in executions.  It is no reason to do away with the death penalty.  In fact, I would argue that the attempts by the left to stop states from acquiring the necessary drugs to perform lethal injections played a role here.  Oklahoma was using a new ‘cocktail’ in last nights execution; one that had never before been tried.  The reason?  Problems obtaining the usual drugs due to leftist groups applying pressure to drug suppliers.  Those who are responsible for the State not having the usual drugs used in executions are not blameless in the ‘botched’ execution.

While I have no sympathy for what happened to Lockett, I support Governor Fallin’s stay for the murderer Warner while execution procedures are reviewed.  Executions are about justice, not revenge, and taking glee in the suffering of the condemned is not honorable.  Statues of Lady Justice typically have her blindfolded to demonstrate the impartiality that our justice system is supposed to exhibit.  Likewise, justice dispensed by the courts should be free of emotion and without malicious application.  With that said, I find no restriction in the Constitution against the condemned experiencing pain or discomfort at the moment of his or her death.

Oklahoma was the first State to introduce lethal injection as a method of execution, passing legislation for it in 1977.  Since then, thirty-seven of thirty-eight states using capital punishment have passed lethal injection legislation.  Lethal injection was seen as a more humane method of execution than the electric chair, the gas chamber, firing squad or hanging; methods that are generally considered painful.

Now that lethal injection is under assault and States are finding it difficult to obtain the necessary drugs for executions, what happened to Lockett is the result.  The death penalty opponents who pressured drug suppliers to stop cooperating with States are culpable for Lockett’s ‘botched’ execution.  If the left insists on continuing their assaults on lethal injection then the States applying capital punishment would do well to eliminate it and go back to electrocution, the gas chamber, the firing squad and hanging.

Clayton Lockett is dead, fifteen years after becoming a murderer.  While his execution did not go as planned, what happened is no reason to do away with the death penalty.

Stephanie Nieman was unavailable for comment.

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3 comments to Left Not Blameless for ‘Botched’ Oklahoma Execution

  • LD Jackson

    Your last sentence about Stephanie Nieman being unavailable says it all. While I do not wish anyone to suffer, Clayton Lockett deserved the punishment he received.

    I am seeing this story splashed all over the news. The liberals are already in an uproar and the media says new challenges will likely be coming. The “cruelty” of the death penalty will almost certainly be challenged. Through it all, they will fail to see how they have brought us to this place by fighting on the side of killers who deserve to die.

    • What really gets me is that the same people so determined to make sure cold blooded killers like Clayton Lockett don’t pay the ultimate price for their crimes are the same people who are so angrily determined to make sure millions of babies are torn limb from limb in the womb. What the heck is wrong with their brains to allow such logic??

  • LD Jackson

    That kind of logic is more than a little twisted.

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