U.S. News


Oklahoma Runs Out Of Lethal Drugs Before Executions

Oklahoma inmates Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner were both sentenced to death for murder, but now their executions have been postponed.
Posted at 8:20 AM, Mar 19, 2014

The state of Oklahoma doesn't have enough lethal injection drug for an execution set for Thursday. 

​"Clayton Lockett is scheduled to die for a 1999 murder. He and another inmate are suing to delay their executions until the source of their execution drug is revealed." (Via KOKI)

The Washington Post reports there's actually an Oklahoma statue that allows the state to stay mum on where it gets its execution drugs. 

"The clause prohibits disclosure of the supplier of any execution drug as well as the name of anyone who participates in an execution."

A man named Charles Warner was also supposed to be executed next week, but he and Lockett have now sued to get more information on the drugs. Lockett was to be put to death for a 1999 murder. (Via KTUL)

"... shooting, then burying a 19-year-old Perry woman alive. Charles Warner was to be put to death on March 27 for raping and killing his girlfriend's 11-month-old daughter ." (Via  KWTV)

But the state is fighting the lawsuit, and both Lockett and Warner's executions have been re-scheduled for April. 

CNN reports the reason behind the shortage is that drug makers are now refusing to sell to prisons.

"The drugs used in the 32 death penalty states are now running out. Drug manufacturers, many based in Europe, ban their sales to prisons, which are now left scrambling."

According to the non-profit Death Penalty Information Center, eight states still allow electrocution, three still have the gas chamber, three allow hanging and two still have a firing squad, but all list lethal injection as the primary method.

The attorney for both Warner and Lockett says without her clients' lawsuit she believes the state would have used unknown or undisclosed drugs to carry out their death sentences.