After court drama, Oklahoma to have 2 executions

Oklahoma execution drugs
This photo combo of images provided by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections shows Clayton Lockett, left, and Charles Warner. Lockett and Warner, two death-row inmates who want to know the source of drugs that will be used to execute them, have placed Oklahoma’s two highest courts at odds and prompted aggravated members of the Legislature to call for the impeachment of Oklahoma Supreme Court justices. (AP Photo/Oklahoma Department of Corrections)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Two condemned inmates at the center of Oklahoma’s now-resolved legal confusion will be put to death Tuesday, the state’s first double execution since 1937.

Gov. Mary Fallin announced her decision Thursday, a day after the Oklahoma Supreme Court removed one of the final obstacles standing in the way of the executions of Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner.

“The defendants had their day in court. The court has made a decision,” Fallin said in a statement. “Two men that do not contest their guilt in heinous murders will now face justice, and the families and friends of their victims will now have closure.”

The high court ruled late Wednesday that Lockett and Warner are not entitled to know the source of the drugs that will be used to kill them, information they had sought through a civil lawsuit.

Seth Day, an attorney for Lockett and Warner, said that without knowing the source of the drugs, the public has no way of knowing whether the execution will be carried out in a “constitutional and humane manner.”

“It’s not even known whether the lethal injection drugs to be used were obtained legally, and nothing is known about their source, purity, or efficacy, among other questions,” Day said in a statement. “Oklahoma’s extreme secrecy surrounding lethal injection undermines our courts and democracy.”

The Oklahoma Supreme Court also dissolved a stay of execution it had issued earlier in the week in a sharply divided and much criticized 5-4 decision. Because the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has exclusive jurisdiction over criminal matters, Fallin and others accused the state’s high court of initially overstepping its bounds.

“This ruling shows that our legal system works,” Fallin said of the high court’s latest decision.

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections is working on specifics and logistics of how the April 29 executions will be carried out, Fallin said. The state has not executed two inmates on the same day since convicted murderers Charlie Sands and Leon Siler were electrocuted on June 11, 1937.

Lockett, 38, was convicted of shooting 19-year-old Stephanie Nieman with a sawed-off shotgun and watching as two accomplices buried her alive in 1999. Warner, 46, was found guilty of raping and killing his roommate’s 11-month-old child in 1997.

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