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May 8, 2014

Workman, formerly with state penitentiary, says execution wasn’t ‘botched’

McALESTER — The former warden of Oklahoma State Penitentiary said last week’s execution of Clayton Lockett wasn’t “botched,” as many have claimed, and says any problems were caused in part by the inmate’s own actions.

“It was an untimely execution,” said Randall Workman, who retired as warden in 2012. “It worked. He died. The bottom line is the drugs did what they were supposed to do. They killed him.”

Workman was not involved in the Lockett execution but oversaw 32 in his five years as warden. They were also administered with a three-drug lethal injection, though the state at the time used the barbiturate drug pentobarbital to render condemned prisoners unconscious.

This execution marked the first time Oklahoma replaced that with the drug Midazolam.

Workman said he “wouldn’t change a thing” about the state’s procedure, despite controversy surrounding Lockett’s execution.

He said the biggest “drawback” was prison officials’ attempt to stop the procedure when Lockett didn’t die as quickly as expected.

“I’m not being critical. I won’t be critical of the process because it’s a very difficult process,” he said. “I think the people did their very best. I think just from my point of view that he was partially responsible, the inmate, and was somewhat successful in trying to circumvent the process.”

Prison officials halted the execution of Lockett, 38, when the new drug combination left him writhing and clenching his teeth in agony before he died of an apparent heart attack. A medical examiner in Dallas is conducting an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

Lockett was one of two inmates set to die April 29 in a rare double-execution. Gov. Mary Fallin has since issued a stay for the second inmate, Charles Warner, following the issues with Lockett’s death.

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