An Arizona prisoner suffered in agony, gasping and snorting for nearly two hours as he waited to die on Tuesday. The state of Arizona, in its infinite wisdom, caused needless suffering by using an experimental, untested drug cocktail in the execution of Joseph Rudolph Wood III.
Wood, who was convicted of murdering his girlfriend Debra Dietz in 1989, remained alive ling enough for his lawyers to file an emergency motion to abort the execution 117 minutes after receiving the lethal injection. The drug cocktail was supposed to kill quickly and peacefully, but Wood remained alive for two hours after receiving the injection.
“He has been gasping and snorting for more than an hour,” Wood’s lawyers wrote in their attempt to call off the execution and force the state to provide Wood with medical care. “He is still alive.”
An Arizona Republic journalist said Wood gasped for air 660 times after the experimental cocktail of midazolam and hydromorphone was introduced intravenously.
However, the Department of Corrections says that it followed protocol and that the execution was monitored by what has to be the most inept team of medical professionals in history. The DoC claims that eyewitness accounts are incorrect, and that aside from snoring, Wood was still and did not “grimace” during the execution.
After Wood’s “peaceful” death, the Attorney General’s office sent out an announcement explaining that in an execution that lasted from 1:52 p.m. to 3:49 p.m., Robert G. Jones had died.
PHOENIX, AZ (Wednesday, July 23, 2014) – After several days of legal maneuvering, Attorney General Tom Horne is announcing the execution of 55-year-old, Robert G. Jones, ADC #086279. The execution commenced at 1:52 p.m. at the Arizona State Prison Complex (ASPC)-Florence. He was pronounced dead at 3:49 p.m.
Robert G. Jones is the name of an inmate who was executed on October 23, 2013. Shortly after, the office sent out a corrected announcement:
PHOENIX, AZ (Wednesday, July 23, 2014) – After several days of legal maneuvering, Attorney General Tom Horne is announcing the execution of 55-year-old, Joseph R.Wood III, ADC #086279. The execution commenced at 1:52 p.m. at the Arizona State Prison Complex (ASPC)-Florence. He was pronounced dead at 3:49 p.m.
One would assume that after needlessly prolonging a man’s suffering for hours, the least that could be done is correct death announcement. Perhaps the state of Arizona needs to rethink the death penalty altogether if it can’t be more responsible than Oklahoma and Tennessee.