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Friday 19 September 2014

Double killer took two hours to die in execution

David Millward

Published 25/07/2014 | 02:30

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The Arizona state prison is shown where the nearly two hour execution of Joseph Rudolph Wood (inset) took place in Florence, Ariz.

A double murderer took nearly two hours to die after a botched execution.

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Joseph Wood (55) was put to death in Arizona after being injected with a cocktail of midazolam, a sedative, and hydromorphone, a pain killer.

He was sentenced to death for the 1989 murder of his girlfriend and her father. Lawyers acting on behalf of Wood tried to halt the execution an hour after it began, because the inmate was "gasping and snorting".

But the execution – which began at 1.52pm after a prolonged legal battle – continued with Wood being pronounced dead at 3.49pm.

"The experiment using midazolam combined with hydromorphone to carry out an execution failed today in Arizona," said Dale Baich, Wood's lawyer.

"It took Joseph Wood two hours to die, and he gasped and struggled to breath for about an hour and 40 minutes.

"Arizona appears to have joined several other states who have been responsible for an entirely preventable horror of "a bungled execution," he added.

Wood's legal team had tried to block the execution at the Arizona State prison complex, arguing that more information was needed about the drugs that were being used. The only previous case in which this cocktail was employed was the execution of Dennis McGuire.

In that case he was also seen gasping for breath over a prolonged period of time. It took him 25 minutes to die.

States have been forced to search for different drugs after the manufacturers of pentobarbital refused to supply the drug for executions. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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