‘Worst Botched Execution’ In Death Row History Left Killer Suffering For 2 Hours
Published in May 2021 / Updated in Aug 2021
The debate on the death penalty is not about to cool down, not even after decades upon decades of heated arguments about the topic.
People are discussing the death penalty and its morality after the country learned that a man suffered through the ‘worst botched execution’ in the history of death row.
The death penalty is very controversial, that’s for sure.
Death Penalty Has Been Around For A Long Time
The reality is that the death penalty is nothing new in the U.S. The controversial legislation has been in operation for centuries.
Often known as capital punishment, this part of the justice system has been around since about 1608. So, it’s not new.
It is worth noting that at the moment, not all states agree with the death penalty. In some states, capital punishment is illegal.
After several years of unresolved debate, the death penalty has also turned into a taboo subject. However, the controversy around the subject has only increased over time.
Certain States Can No Longer Justify The Use Of Capital Punishment
For multiple reasons, many U.S. states have decided to do away with the death penalty.
One of the main reasons states has abolished capital punishment is the possibility of putting an innocent person to death.
Also, some states have determined that the death penalty does little to deter future crimes. Some states have abolished it because it can be used in a discriminatory and even political manner.
International bodies such as Amnesty have been trying for decades to get the U.S. to do away with capital punishment.
As part of their campaign, they have been working hard to discourage governments from carrying out death penalties by exposing them and holding them to account.
Besides, many people consider the death penalty to be barbaric.
From a philosophical standpoint, it is hard to justify why a government would kill its citizens.
Some Places Firmly Support Capital Punishment
Sadly, not all states realize that the death penalty is a problem.
That includes South Carolina. The state had to reluctantly stop executions due to a shortage of drugs required to carry out lethal injections.
However, Governor Henry McMaster recently signed a highly controversial bill into law.
According to the new legislation, a shortage of lethal injection drugs is no longer an impediment to this ancient practice. Today, convicts can also get electrocuted or killed through a firing squad.
These new methods appear more inhumane and brutal.
Understandably, people were not thrilled by these legal changes.
The campaigners pointed out that there were many people executed over the last few years who had serious mental and physical illnesses.
As far as they were concerned, this should have made the death penalty completely unconstitutional.
Some States Continue To Ban The Death Penalty
Fortunately, some states have made some progress by stopping capital punishment.
Virginia is the first southern state in history to abolish capital punishment. That, however, is a recent milestone.
Many people were thrilled by the news.
Of course, lots of people were hoping that the death penalty would be abolished throughout the country.
By making this move, Virginia became the twenty-third state to do away with the death penalty.
People can only hope that more southern states can do the same and say no to capital punishment.
Unfortunately, McMaster believes that killing prisoners is the right form of justice:
“The families and loved ones of victims are owed closure and justice by law. Now, we can provide it.”
He said this after adding firing squad to the list of options available to the state when carrying out the death penalty.
So, executions that were put on hold since 2011 can now resume.
The decision has caused a lot of criticism.
Reporters pointed out that lethal injection had been introduced as a more humane way to carry out executions. That means that South Carolina was the only state that had reintroduced less humane methods of execution.
Lethal Injection Is Not Perfect
When carrying out executions using lethal injection, a cocktail of drugs is used. It also appears that many botched executions occur all the time due to burned skin, prolonged death times, and missed veins.
More recently, a death row inmate in Arizona underwent what people are now calling the “Worst Botched Execution.”
The inmate gulped and gasped for air for two hours after being injected with drugs supposed to give him a quick death.
This marked the third time a death row inmate had undergone a highly problematic death in the country since the year 2014. Dennis McGuire in Ohio and Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma suffered the same excruciating fate.
It took Dennis McGuire 27 minutes to die. The problem might have had something to do with him being used as a guinea pig.
They used an untested combination of midazolam and hydromorphone. There has been a shortage of midazolam, and to ensure that executions keep taking place, many states have been finding substitutes to the drug to keep the executions alive.
Clayton Lockett also underwent a botched execution that was not easy to watch.
Once more, he was given an untested combination of drugs not previously used in the country. He had a fatal heart attack while strapped down.
In the latest case, Joseph Wood apparently snorted and gulped 600 times during a protracted death that took hours.
By the time he succumbed to the drugs he was given, he had been injected with “750mg each of midazolam, a sedative and hydromorphone, a narcotic.” In the end, he had received 15 times the amount necessary according to the state’s execution protocol.
Why Is This A Big Deal Now?
Wood was executed in the year 2014, and there has been a lot of interest in the way he spent his last agonizing moments of life. Many claim that the way he died was both unconstitutional and torturous.
These people argue that he suffered a level of distress that is banned by the U.S. Constitution through its prohibition of “cruel and unusual punishment.”
However, the murderer has not gotten a lot of sympathy from the public.
However, the Arizona prison department’s director, Charles Ryan, disputes claims that the execution was botched. He explained that the medical team at the facility checked on Wood on multiple occasions and found out that he was “comatose and never in pain.”
One of Wood’s lawyers admitted that he had never “seen anything like this” despite the fact that he had witnessed several executions before.
Wood was found guilty of killing his girlfriend Debra Dietz and her father Eugene Dietz in Tucson, Arizona. He committed the crimes back on August 7, 1989.
At the time, he was estranged from her.
So, what are your thoughts on this?
Do you think capital punishment should still be carried out on prisoners found guilty of capital offences?