Details about the grisly botched execution of convicted murder Joseph Wood in Arizona began to emerge on Friday. The two-hour lethal injection process horrified witnesses and again raised questions about how the death penalty is administered in America. According to documents released on Friday, “executioners injected him with 15 times the amount of a sedative and a painkiller that they originally intended to use,” the Associated Press reports.
Records released to Joseph Rudolph Wood's attorneys show he was administered midazolam and hydromorphone in 50-milligram increments 15 times between 1:53 p.m. and 3:45 p.m., for a total of 750 milligrams of each drug. He was pronounced dead at 3:49 p.m. after gasping more than 600 times while he lay on the table. Arizona's execution protocol calls for 50 milligrams of each drug, although some states use as much as 500 milligrams of midazolam in their execution procedures.
Arizona’s Attorney General temporarily suspended executions in the state following Wood’s death. “The Arizona Department of Corrections announced Friday that it was seeking an outside investigator to conduct an independent inquiry into Mr. Wood’s execution,” according to the New York Times. “Prison officials had estimated that it would take 10 minutes for the combination of drugs to kill Mr. Wood, but once a vein had been tapped and the drugs began to flow, it took an hour and 53 minutes before he was declared dead.”