Arizona Inmate Injected 15 Times With Lethal Injection Drugs

joseph rudolph wood III

Joseph R. Wood, the convicted murderer put to death on July 23 in Arizona, was injected with far more of each of the two drugs used by the state than is called for in the state’s lethal injection protocol, according to notes released Friday by the Arizona Department of Corrections.

Over the course of two hours, Mr. Wood was injected 15 separate times with a cocktail of two drugs: midazolam, a sedative, and hydromorphone, an opiate, according to the notes.

Each injection contained 50 milligrams of each drug. The state’s execution protocol calls for a single injection made up of 50 milligrams of each drug. It was the first execution performed in the state with those two drugs.

Mr. Wood took nearly two hours to die after lethal-injection drugs were first administered by officials at the state prison in Florence, Ariz. The 55-year-old, convicted of shooting to death his estranged girlfriend and her father in 1989, gasped and snorted more than 600 times before this death, according to accounts of the procedure.

A lawyer for Mr. Wood, Dale Baich, said “the execution logs released  . . .  show that the experimental drug protocol did not work as promised.” The state’s repeated injections, added Mr. Baich, resulted “in the most prolonged execution in recent memory.”

The state’s protocol allows the state to administer more drugs if one dose does not kill the inmate.

The Department of Corrections said the logs show Mr. Wood was sedated throughout the procedure.

“The inmate remained deeply sedated throughout the process, and did not endure pain,” said an official statement issued by the department.

The statement said the state would conduct a “thorough, transparent and comprehensive review process,” but did not say specifically who would spearhead the review. Mr. Baich reiterated his call for an “independent investigation by a non-governmental authority.”

The Arizona execution was the third lethal injection this year to raise significant questions about procedures using midazolam, a sedative common in hospital procedures. Physicians have questioned its use in executions, given how little is known about how the drug behaves when given in large quantities.

The prolonged execution of an Oklahoma man in April prompted a review of lethal injection procedures by the Obama administration in May.



By |2014-08-04T14:58:09+00:00August 4th, 2014|deathpenalty, deathrow, Legal Blog|Comments Off on Arizona Inmate Injected 15 Times With Lethal Injection Drugs