Oklahoma’s first execution since it botched the lethal injection of a death row inmate saw convicted baby rapist and killer Charles Frederick Warner exclaim from the death chamber: “My body is on fire.”
Convicted in 1997 of raping and killing an 11-month-old girl, Warner was scheduled to be put to death on April 29, the same night as Clayton Lockett. His execution was put on hold when Lockett began groaning and writhing in pain on the gurney after being injected with the lethal cocktail and declared unconscious; concerns over the drugs used in executions prompted state officials to put a temporary hold on death sentences until an investigation had been completed.
Wearing gray prison scrubs and covered with a sheet up to his waist, Warner, bald and clean-shaven, was strapped to a gurney with intravenous lines in both arms.
When asked before the execution began if he had any final words, Warner responded: “Before I give my final statement, I’ll tell you they poked me five times. It hurt. It feels like acid.”
Warner also apologized to his family for the pain he caused them and said: “I’m not a monster. I didn’t do everything they said I did.”
According to NBC, after the first of the three drugs was administered, Warner said, “My body is on fire. No one should go through this. I’m not afraid to die.” He showed no other signs of physical distress afterwards.
Witnesses said they saw slight twitching in Warner’s neck about three minutes after the lethal injection began. The twitching lasted about seven minutes until he stopped breathing.
Warner’s attorney, Madeline Cohen, who witnessed the execution, said in a statement there was no way to know if Warner suffered because the second drug, a paralytic, would have prevented him from moving.
“Because Oklahoma injected Mr. Warner with a paralytic tonight, acting as a chemical veil, we will never know whether he experienced the intense pain of suffocation and burning that would result from injecting a conscious person with rocuronium bromide and potassium chloride,” Cohen said.
It was the second time Oklahoma used the sedative midazolam as part of a three-drug method that had been challenged by Warner and other death row inmates as presenting an unconstitutional risk of pain and suffering.
The execution came after a divided U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 ruling said it wouldn’t consider an appeal over the drugs.
In a dissenting opinion, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that she believes questions about the effectiveness of the drugs are particularly important because of states’ increasing reliance on new and scientifically untested methods of execution.
“Petitioners have committed horrific crimes, and should be punished,” Sotomayor wrote. “But the Eighth Amendment guarantees that no one should be subjected to an execution that causes searing, unnecessary pain before death.”
Watch the video report below for more details: