A convicted killer gasped on the gurney as the state of Arizona attempted to execute him on Wednesday, before being declared dead almost two hours after the process began.
Lawyers for Joseph Wood attempted to halt the execution in an emergency court motion, saying he had been "gasping and snorting for more than an hour". The state attorney general announced Wood had died before the court could rule on the motion.
The developments echoed the botched execution of Clayton Lockett, who writhed and groaned on a gurney for nearly 45 minutes before eventually dying of a heart attack. The two-hour process in Wood's case appeared certain to revive the arguments surrounding the death penalty in the US, as a shortage of execution drugs has forced states to use untried methods and unregulated drugs.All week there were legal rights over the secrecy surrounding the drugs used. For background on all this see my ebook Dead Reckoning.