Arizona Execution Under Scrutiny
PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona attorney general's office says it took one hour and 57 minutes for a convicted killer to be put to death by lethal injection Wednesday.
Joseph Rudolph Wood was convicted of shooting to death an ex-girlfriend and her father in Tucson in 1989.
Wood's attorneys say their client was "gasping and snorting for more than an hour" once the lethal injection was underway.
Gov. Jan Brewer says she's ordering a full review of the state's execution process.
Defense lawyer Dale Baich called it a botched execution that should have taken 10 minutes.
"Arizona appears to have joined several other states who have been responsible for an entirely preventable horror — a bungled execution," Baich said. "The public should hold its officials responsible and demand to make this process more transparent."
Family members of Wood's victims said they had no problems with the way the execution was carried out.
"This man conducted a horrifying murder and you guys are going, 'let's worry about the drugs,'" said Richard Brown, the brother-in-law of Debbie Dietz, who was 29 when she was killed in 1989. "Why didn't they give him a bullet? Why didn't we give him Drano?"
Wood was convicted of fatally shooting Dietz and her father, 55-year-old Gene Dietz, at their auto repair shop in Tucson.
Wood looked at the family members as he delivered his final words, saying he was thankful for Jesus Christ as his savior. At one point, he smiled at them, which angered the family.
"I take comfort knowing today my pain stops, and I said a prayer that on this or any other day you may find peace in all of your hearts and may God forgive you all," Wood said.
The case has highlighted scrutiny surrounding lethal injections after two controversial ones. An Ohio inmate executed in January snorted and gasped during the 26 minutes it took him to die. In Oklahoma, an inmate died of a heart attack in April, minutes after prison officials halted his execution because the drugs weren't being administered properly.
Arizona uses the same drugs — the sedative midazolam and painkiller hydromorphone — that were used in the Ohio execution. A different drug combination was used in the Oklahoma case.