Arizona’s prisons chief said Thursday that parts of Wednesday’s execution went “perfectly,” asserting that the lethal injection procedure shouldn’t be characterized as “botched.”
Department of Corrections Director Charles Ryan said in a statement that IV lines were “perfectly placed” in condemned inmate Joseph Rudolph Wood III’s arms. Ryan added that the IV team, which included a licensed medical doctor, verified multiple times that Wood was comatose and not in pain during the procedure.
Wood lay dying for nearly two hours in what his lawyers said should have been a 10-minute procedure. The lawyers also said Wood was “gasping and snorting for more than an hour” during the execution.
But Ryan said that so far there was no evidence to support the “premature and erroneous conclusion” that the execution had been botched.
“Media reports, some of which were made prior to any information officially being released on the day of the execution, reached the premature and erroneous conclusion that this execution was ‘botched,’” he said in the statement. “This is pure conjecture because there is no medical or forensic evidence to date that supports that conclusion.”
Ryan said he was committed to fulfilling Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s (R) request to carry out a thorough and transparent review of Wood’s execution, and the state would not seek any further warrants of execution until the review was completed.