The AP is reporting that it took 2 hours and 10 jabs before Ohio prison staff were able to insert shunts to deliver a lethal cocktail to inmate Christopher Newton. Botched executions have become almost common now, with multiple states questioning what the most humane method of execution is, and in at least nine states completely suspending lethal injections while the procedure is re-evaluated.
But this case takes a bizarre turn when you start reading the details. Newton laughed and joked with the prison medical staff while they tried to insert the needles, and he was even allowed a bathroom break during the proceedings. But the truly bizarre comes from just how helpful Newton was in his own case, insisting that the only way he would cooperate with investigators is if they sought the death penalty.
Bizarre aspects to the case aside, Ohio is one of the states that had a botched execution last year. Following the extended execution of Joseph Clark, which took close to 90 minutes due to scarred veins from drug use, the state announced it would make several key changes to how it handled lethal injections, designed to prevent any extended execution process in the future. That these changes were in place for Newton’s execution continues to raise the question of whether or not lethal injection can ever be the swift and painless death it was originally advertised as being.
Originally posted on the American Journal of Bioethics Editors Blog.