TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Ariz. inmate's execution apparently botched

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Los Angeles Times
Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 8:30 p.m.
 

Officials said an Arizona inmate gasped and snorted for more than an hour until dying in an apparently botched execution on Wednesday that is sure to reinvigorate the national debate over lethal injection in the United States.

The death of Joseph Rudolph Wood III was confirmed by the Arizona attorney general to The Associated Press about two hours after the procedure began.

Wood had apparently stayed alive so long that his attorneys filed for an emergency stay after the lethal injection initially failed to kill him, according to a legal filing.

“The Arizona Department of Corrections began the execution of Joseph Rudolph Wood III at 1:52 p.m.,” said the legal filing in federal court from public defender Jon M. Sands. “At 1:57 p.m. ADC reported that Mr. Wood was sedated, but at 2:02, he began to breathe. At 2:03, his mouth moved. Mr. Wood has continued to breathe since that time. He has been gasping and snorting for more than an hour. At 3:02 p.m. At that time, staff rechecked for sedation. He is still alive.”

Sands called for Wood's execution to be halted on the grounds of cruel and unusual punishment and asked that officials try to resuscitate him.

Wood, 55, was sentenced to death in 1991 for the August 1989 shooting deaths of his estranged girlfriend, Debra Dietz, and her father, Eugene Dietz, in Tucson.

The execution had originally been set for Wednesday morning but was delayed by a temporary stay to hear arguments in a last-minute appeal effort by Wood's attorneys.

His attorneys said that his trial attorney failed to present evidence of mental illness, including brain damage, that could have spared him from a capital sentence.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court denied a separate plea by Wood to delay his execution until the state turned over detailed information on the drugs that would be used during his execution and on the qualifications of his execution team.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Supreme Court will hear challenge to EPA’s power-plant rules
  2. E-cigarettes cut cravings, study finds
  3. Brown family blasts prosecutor; Wilson speaks
  4. Ferguson grand jury focused on fatal ‘tussle’
  5. United Mine Workers responds to strike complaint
  6. Protest in Cleveland over 12-year-old’s shooting death chokes off traffic
  7. Final Benghazi report touted as ‘definitive’
  8. Oregon recounts votes on measure to label GMO foods
  9. Alcohol’s role in collegiate assaults cited at University of Virginia board’s meeting
  10. Illegals protected by Obama in line for Social Security, Medicare, other benefits
  11. Giant nutcracker will stand 41 feet
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.