(AP) - A condemned Arizona inmate gasped and snorted for more than an hour and a half during his execution Wednesday before he died in an episode sure to add to the scrutiny surrounding the death penalty in the U.S.
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne's office said Joseph Rudolph Wood was pronounced dead at 3:49 p.m., one hour and 57 minutes after the execution started.
Wood's lawyers had filed an emergency appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court while the execution was underway, demanding that it be stopped. The appeal said Wood was "gasping and snorting for more than an hour."
Word that Justice Anthony Kennedy denied the appeal came about a half hour after Wood's death.
An Associated Press reporter who witnessed the execution saw Wood, 55, gasp more than 600 times before he died. Defense lawyer Dale Baich called it a botched execution that should have taken 10 minutes.
"Arizona appears to have joined several other states who have been responsible for an entirely preventable horror - a bungled execution," Baich said. "The public should hold its officials responsible and demand to make this process more transparent."
Family members of the victims said they had no problems with the way the execution was carried out.
"This man conducted a horrific murder and you guys are going, let's worry about the drugs," said Richard Brown. "Why didn't they give him a bullet, why didn't we give him Drano?"
Wood looked at the family members as he delivered his final words, saying he was thankful for Jesus Christ as his savior. At one point, he smiled at them, which angered the family.
"I take comfort knowing today my pain stops, and I said a prayer that on this or any other day you may find peace in all of your hearts and may God forgive you all," Wood said.
The case has highlighted scrutiny surrounding lethal injections after two controversial executions, including that of an Ohio inmate in January who snorted and gasped during the 26 minutes it took him to die. In Oklahoma, an inmate died of a heart attack in April, minutes after prison officials halted his execution because the drugs weren't being administered properly.
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Posted July 23rd, 2014 @ 9:14pm