The Norman Transcript

Opinion

May 8, 2014

In death penalty debate, remember victims

NORMAN — Recently, the state of Oklahoma conducted the lawful execution of Clayton Lockett, a man who was convicted of first-degree burglary, assault with a dangerous weapon, kidnapping, robbery by force and fear, forcible oral sodomy, rape and first-degree murder.

A timeline released by the Department of Corrections shows what witnesses to the execution knew immediately: the process of death by lethal injection took too long.

To avoid a repeat of last week’s prolonged execution, I have asked Department of Public Safety Commissioner Michael Thompson to conduct a thorough review of the events leading up to Lockett’s death.

I have also asked the commissioner to develop a set of updated and improved execution protocols and Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton to implement those protocols. While that process is taking place, the state of Oklahoma will delay its upcoming executions.

It is obvious that Lockett’s death has reignited a national debate over the death penalty. Some anti-death penalty advocates have even gone so far as to say that all Oklahomans have blood on their hands.

What these out-of-state pundits consistently forget to mention or even consider are Lockett’s victims. I would like to take this opportunity to remind them why Lockett found himself strapped to a gurney April 29, and why the state of Oklahoma chose to take his life.

These are the facts, as agreed to by Lockett:

On June 3, 1999, Bobby Bornt was asleep on his couch at his home in Perry when his front door was kicked in. Lockett and two other men entered the house before beating Bornt with a shotgun. They duct taped his hands behind his back, gagged him and ransacked his house for drugs.

While Bornt was restrained, a female friend of his had the misfortune to arrive at the house (to protect her privacy I will not use her name). She was pulled inside by Lockett and his accomplices, beaten and then ordered at gunpoint to call her friend, Stephanie Neiman, who was waiting outside in her pickup truck.

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