Oklahoma, one of several states scrambling to replace its now-unavailable lethal injection drugs, has five ways to kill death row inmates, according to lawyers for two condemned men.
In a filing released today, lawyers for Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner argued that the state informed them that it has not been able to procure two of the three drugs that were to be used in their executions (pentobarbital, vecuronium bromide and potassium chloride), and so the lethal injection protocol has been changed to "5 options of different combinations of drug(s)."
Here are those options:
- A lot of pentobarbital
- Midazolam and hydromorphone
- Midazolam, vecuronium bromide and potassium chloride
- Sodium thiopental, vecuronium bromide and potassium chloride
- Pentobarbital, vecuronium bromide and potassium chloride
Option 3 has never been used in an execution in the United States, while Option 5 is similar to the combination used to kill Oklahoma inmate Michael Lee Wilson, whose last words were "I can feel my whole body burning" (that used pancuronium bromide instead of vecuronium bromide). Option 2 was used to kill Dennis McGuire in Ohio, though it took 15 minutes for McGuire to die, during which time he gasped and made snorting noises.
The decision of which option to use is left to the warden and can be changed at any time, so there is no way to know which method will be used or where the drugs will come from, and this no way to know if those drugs could cause unnecessary pain and suffering. Missouri lost an execution drug provider -- a compounding pharmacy in Oklahoma -- after a prisoner's lawyers sued it. Oklahoma is hoping to avoid the same.
Oklahoma officials refused to give the AP a copy of the new protocols. The Oklahoma Department of Corrections website only lists two options for killing prisoners.
Lockett, who raped a 19-year-old woman, shot her and buried her alive, is scheduled to be executed on April 22. Warner, who raped and murdered an 11-month-old child, is scheduled for April 29.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.