Inmate Injected With 15 Doses During Botched Arizona Execution

AP

Arizona executioners used 15 doses of a lethal drug combination to kill inmate Joseph Wood during his botched, two-hour execution last week, the Arizona Capitol Times reported late Friday.

The injection logs, which were handed over to Wood’s attorneys by prison officials following the July 23 execution, showed the inmate was given his first dose at 1:52 p.m.

He then spent more than an hour and a half gasping and snorting, according to witnesses, while the executioners continued to administer more doses of the drug cocktail.

The logs showed the 15th dose was given to him three minutes before he was pronounced dead at 3:49 p.m., according to the Capitol Times.

One of Wood’s attorneys frantically tried during a half-hour phone call to get a federal judge to halt the execution while it the ordeal was still going on. Transcripts of the conversation showed the judge began to issue his decision to deny the request but was interrupted by news of the death.

Prison officials have defended the execution, with the head of the state prison system saying parts of the execution went “perfectly” and that it should not be described as “botched.”

Gov. Jan Brewer (R) has also defended the execution but ordered the state Department of Corrections to investigate its own work and procedures.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) reacted to news of the execution by describing it as “torture.”

“I believe in the death penalty for certain crimes,” McCain said last week. “But that is not an acceptable way of carrying it out. And people who were responsible
should be held responsible.”

Wood was executed for the 1989 shooting deaths of his girlfriend, Debbie Dietz, 29, and her father, Gene Dietz, 55.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nick Martin is an associate editor at TPM in New York City. He came to the site in 2011 as a reporter for TPMMuckraker. Previously, he worked in Arizona, first as a staff reporter for a local newspaper and later as a freelance journalist. He also ran the news blog Heat City. Contact him at nick@talkingpointsmemo.com

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