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Death row inmate Joseph Wood has died after an execution in Arizona took nearly two hours to kill him.

Joseph Wood, a double murderer, was executed by lethal injection.

His lawyers filed an appeal for an emergency stay of execution, after he had been “gasping and snorting for more than an hour” in the death chamber.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer says she has ordered a full review of the execution, although she said that Joseph Wood “died in a lawful manner”.

Joseph Wood’s lawyers argued the extended execution process violated his right to be executed in the absence of cruel and unusual punishment.

Jan Brewer said: “By eyewitness and medical accounts he did not suffer. This is in stark comparison to the gruesome, vicious suffering that he inflicted on his two victims, and the lifetime of suffering he has caused their family.”

The execution should have taken 10 minutes, his lawyers said, but Joseph Wood, 55, gasped more than 600 times before he died.

Joseph Wood was convicted of the 1989 murders of his estranged girlfriend Debra Dietz and her father Eugene Dietz

Joseph Wood was convicted of the 1989 murders of his estranged girlfriend Debra Dietz and her father Eugene Dietz

It began at 13:52, and Joseph Wood was pronounced dead at 15:49, one hour and 57 minutes later, according to the Arizona attorney-general’s office.

He was convicted of the 1989 murders of his estranged girlfriend Debra Dietz and her father Eugene Dietz.

Family members of the victims were unconcerned by the way the execution was carried out.

“This man conducted a horrific murder and you guys are going, let’s worry about the drugs,’’ said Richard Brown.

“Why didn’t they give him a bullet?”

Joseph Wood’s lawyers had sought to force Arizona to name the manufacturers of the drugs used in the execution, but a last-ditch ruling by the US Supreme Court cleared the way for the execution to go ahead.

In communications with Joseph Wood’s lawyers this year, Arizona officials said they would use a two-drug combination of midazolam and hydromorphone to put him to death.

However, they declined to provide further identifying information, including the name of the drug’s manufacturer, citing a state confidentiality law aimed at protecting the drug makers from reprisal.

In 2010, the sole US manufacturer of sodium thiopental, a sedative used in lethal injections, stopped producing it. States switched to pentobarbital, also a sedative, but its Danish manufacturer Lundbeck began tightly restricting its distribution to prevent it being used in executions.

And in 2011, the UK imposed export bans on three common lethal injection drugs, pentobarbital, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride. In the same year, the EU restricted the distribution of sodium thiopental to nations that practice capital punishment.

States have experimented with other drugs since.

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Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has ordered a “full review” of the state’s procedures following Clayton Lockett’s botched execution.

Clayton Lockett’s execution was stopped after 20 minutes on Tuesday evening

Officials say one of his veins ruptured, preventing the drugs from taking full effect. He died of a heart attack less than an hour later.

The execution of a fellow inmate, scheduled to die hours after Clayton Lockett, has been postponed amid the review.

Clayton Lockett was sentenced to death for shooting 19-year-old Stephanie Neiman and watching as two accomplices buried her alive in 1999.

Stephanie Neiman and a friend had interrupted the men as they robbed a home.

Clayton Lockett’s lawyer, David Autry, said the failed execution was a “horrible thing to witness”.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has ordered a "full review" of the state's procedures following Clayton Lockett’s botched execution

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has ordered a “full review” of the state’s procedures following Clayton Lockett’s botched execution

“Obviously the whole thing was gummed up and botched from beginning to end,” David Autry said.

“Halting the execution obviously did Lockett no good.”

The problems surrounding Clayton Lockett’s execution come amid a wider debate over the legality of the three-drug method and whether its use violates guarantees in the US constitution “against cruel and unusual punishment”.

Both men scheduled to die on Tuesday had unsuccessfully challenged a state law that shields the identities of companies supplying the drugs.

The execution began at 18:23 local time, when officials administered a sedative.

Clayton Lockett was declared unconscious 10 minutes later, allowing officials to begin injecting the two drugs that would kill him.

But three minutes later, he began breathing heavily and writhing.

Prison officials pulled a curtain across the view of witnesses when it became apparent that something had gone wrong.

Oklahoma’s top prison official ordered a halt to the execution shortly after.

“We believe that a vein was blown and the drugs weren’t working as they were designed to.” Oklahoma Department of Corrections spokesman Jerry Massie said.

But David Autry questioned the remarks, insisting his client “had large arms and very prominent veins,” according to the Associated Press.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin said in a statement that she had issued a 14-day stay of execution for fellow inmate Charles Warner, 46, while the state completed a review of its execution procedures.

Charles Warner had been scheduled to be put to death in the same room two hours later in a rare double execution.

He was convicted of the 1997 murder and rape of an 11-month-old girl.

Charles Warner’s lawyer, Madeline Cohen, who witnessed Clayton Lockett’s execution, said he had been “tortured to death” and called for an independent investigation, including an outside medical examination.

The US has encountered increasing problems in obtaining the drugs for lethal injections, amid an embargo by European pharmaceutical firms.

Some states have turned to untried combinations of drugs or have sought to obtain the drugs custom-made from compounding pharmacies. Several states that still have the death penalty have since switched to a single-drug method.

Charles Warner and Clayton Lockett had unsuccessfully challenged an Oklahoma state law that blocks officials from revealing – even in court – the identities of the companies supplying the drugs.

The state maintains the law is necessary to protect the suppliers from legal action and harassment.

Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner argued they needed to know the names of the suppliers in order to ensure the quality of the drugs that would be used to kill them and to be certain that they had been obtained legally.

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Oklahoma death row inmate Clayton Lockett died of a heart attack after his execution was halted because the lethal injection of three drugs failed to work properly.

Clayton Lockett, 38, experienced a vein failure which prevented the drug cocktail from being fully effective.

The execution was halted after 20 minutes, during which he writhed and shook uncontrollably, US media report.

The execution of fellow inmate Charles Warner, due to take place just two hours later, was postponed for 14 days.

A spokesman for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections told US media that Clayton Lockett had died of a heart attack following injection of three lethal drugs.

“We believe that a vein was blown and the drugs weren’t working as they were designed to. The director ordered a halt to the execution,” corrections department spokesman Jerry Massie said.

Prison officials pulled a curtain across the view of witnesses when it became apparent that something had gone wrong.

Clayton Lockett died of a heart attack after his execution was halted because the lethal injection of three drugs failed to work properly

Clayton Lockett died of a heart attack after his execution was halted because the lethal injection of three drugs failed to work properly

“He was conscious and blinking, licking his lips even after the process began. He then began to seize,” Associated Press news agency reporter Bailey Elise McBride tweeted from the scene.

“This was botched, and it was difficult to watch,” said David Autry, one of Clayton Lockett’s lawyers.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin said in a statement that she had ordered a full review of the state’s execution procedures.‏

Charles Warner, 46, had been scheduled to be put to death in the same room two hours later in a rare double execution.

Clayton Lockett was sentenced to death for the 1999 shooting of a 19-year-old woman. Charles Warner was convicted for the 1997 murder and rape of an 11-month-old girl.

The two men had unsuccessfully challenged an Oklahoma state law that blocks officials from revealing – even in court – the identities of the companies supplying the drugs used to sedate inmates, paralyze their respiratory systems and stop their hearts.

The state maintains the law is necessary to protect the suppliers from legal action and harassment.

Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner argued it was necessary for the men to learn the name of the suppliers in order to ensure the quality of the drugs that would be used to kill them and to be certain that they had been obtained legally.

In March a trial court ruled in their favor, but the state’s highest court reversed that decision last week, ruling that “the plaintiffs have no more right to the information they requested than if they were being executed in the electric chair”.

In recent years US states have had increasing problems in trying to obtain drugs used in executions, amid an embargo by European pharmaceutical companies.

Some have turned to untried combinations of drugs or have sought to obtain the drugs custom-made from compounding pharmacies.

Clayton Lockett’s last moments:

  • 18:23 – Sedative administered
  • 18:33 – Doctor declares Clayton Lockett unconscious
  • 18:36 – Clayton Lockett is restless and a doctor discovers a ruptured vein
  • Curtain drawn
  • Execution halted
  • 19:06 – Clayton Lockett dies from a heart attack

All times local – Central Time

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