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Arizona's execution of death row inmate Joseph Wood takes 2 hours

By Kyle Johnson,

In a not entirely unforeseen result, a death row inmate took nearly two hours to die after his scheduled execution by lethal injection began on Wednesday in Arizona.

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne announced that Joseph Wood's execution went ahead at 1:57 p.m. local time and it wasn't until 3:59 p.m. that the inmate passed away, ABC News reports.

The execution took so long that his legal team had time to file an emergency stay. The court documents say that the 55-year-old was seen "gasping and snorting for more than an hour."

One of Wood's defense team, Dale Baich, said, "The experiment using midazolam combined with hydromorphone to carry out an execution failed today... he gasped and struggled to breath for about an hour and forty minutes."

The ACLU blasted the botched execution noting that "Arizona broke the Eighth Amendment, the First Amendment, and the bounds of basic decency. ... In its rush to put Mr. Wood to death in secret, Arizona ignored the dire and clear warnings from the botched executions of Oklahoma and Ohio."

Wood's execution was originally stayed earlier in the week by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals as his defense team sought more information regarding the experimental drug cocktail to be used on Wood, a similar one which has been at the heart of two other botched executions.

However, according to the Los Angeles Times, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that his execution didn't need to be halted, leaving Arizona open to quietly attempt to execute Wood. After another temporary delay Wednesday morning, they went full speed ahead.

Wood was convicted and sentenced to death for fatally shooting estranged girlfriend Debra Dietz and her father, Eugene Dietz, in 1989.

 
 

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