McAlester — The state’s top prison official said Thursday condemned convict Clayton Lockett purposely cut himself on the arm hours before his scheduled execution, raising the possibility blood loss from the wound may have contributed to the botched lethal drug procedure.
Robert Patton, director of the Department of Corrections, did not speculate what motivated Lockett, nor did Patton describe what Lockett used to cut his right arm. He recommended an outside investigation into the circumstances preceding discovery of the laceration and the protocol employed for his execution.
In the meantime, he urged the Oklahoma Court of Appeals to issue an indefinite stay on further executions until new protocols can be implemented and extensive staff training completed. He said that could take weeks.
“The current protocol puts all responsibility and decision-making on the warden at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary,” Patton said. “Those decisions should rest on upper management and ultimately on the director of corrections.”
During a press briefing Thursday afternoon, Gov. Mary Fallin said she appreciated the Department of Corrections giving more “clarity to the circumstances” by issuing the report, “giving us more information that the public, frankly, didn’t know, that I didn’t know.”
But Fallin said the planned May 13 execution of Charles Warner would continue unless more time was needed for the investigation. She said she could authorize a stay of up to 60 days.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office spokeswoman Diane Clay said Attorney General Scott Pruitt believes no executions should occur during the pendency of the review.
“And after exhaustion of the governor’s 60-day authority for granting stays for any potential executions, the attorney general would make any appropriate filing with the Court of Criminal Appeals,” she said.
Lockett was declared dead Tuesday evening following a bungled execution attempt at Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.