Nightly News   |  April 30, 2014

Botched Execution: Oklahoma Governor Launches Investigation

An execution in Oklahoma in April is raising new questions about the death penalty, as states struggle to cope with a shortage of drugs used for capital punishment.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> fair warning, this next story has to do with the grizzly subject matter of violent crime and execution in this country, specifically the botched execution of a death row inmate last night in oklahoma is raising new questions this evening with the death penalty as states are dealing with a shortage of the drugs used to carry out capital punishment .

>> reporter: after the state started pumping drugs in the arms of this man, something went wrong. gram lee brewer of the oklahoma newspaper was one of the official witnesses.

>> he began kicking his feet, lifting his head and chest off the gurney and he must believed.

>> reporter: it took 43 minutes for him to be pronounced dead. the governor postponed another execution and today ordered an independent review .

>> the state needs to be certain of the protocols and procedures for executions and that they work.

>> reporter: oklahoma had never before used the three chemicals in the combination it administered to locket. they are struggling to find lethal injection drugs after suppliers said they no longer wanted part of capitol punishment . some are compounding pharmacies but refusing to disclose sources. last week one justice on oklahoma supreme court said inmates are no more entitled to know the source of the lethal drugs than whether it was a nylon or cotton rope if they were being hanged. lawyers for charles warner whose excuse was planned for last night says the state has no idea what it is doing.

>> we need to know the drugs will work the way they are supposed to so our clients are not subjected to a prolonged and torturous death.

>> reporter: some say oklahoma 's botched execution is cruel and unusual punishment .

>> very often it's secret and the manage fracturer is secret. so what we have in many situations is scientific experimentation on humans.

>> reporter: some states are looking for alternatives. tennessee's legislature approved using the electric chair if the supply of drugs dries up.