The news has been full of reports about how the state of Oklahoma botched the execution of Clayton Lockett on Tuesday. According to reports, instead of drifting off peacefully after the drugs were administered, Lockett was declared unconscious after 10 minutes but then began breathing heavily, writhing, clenched his teeth and strained to lift his head from the pillow. Prison officials stopped the execution, and the condemned man died of an apparent heart attack minutes later.
So was this really a failed execution as the news is reporting? Not in my opinion. Lockett is dead, so it worked. Just not quite as quickly and as quietly as expected.
Of course, it’s not that simple. At least not in the eyes of the news media and those who are apposed to capital punishment. They say that Clayton Lockett suffered unreasonably before he died. Oklahoma prison officials blame the problem on a new drug combination used in the execution.
Call me cold and callous, but I’m sorry, I really don’t see the problem. Lockett was a four-time felon who was convicted of shooting an 18 year old woman named Stephanie Neiman and then watching as his two accomplices buried her alive. What had Ms. Neiman done to deserve such a terrible death? Had she jilted Lockett and broken his heart? Was she part of a drug deal gone bad? No, she and a friend simply stumbled onto the scene while Lockett and his friends were robbing a home on June 3, 1999. For that she was beaten, raped, and then brutally murdered. She had graduated from high school only two weeks earlier and had her whole life ahead of her.
They say Lockett suffered? How much did Stephanie Neiman suffer as she was violated? How much did she suffer from her gunshot wounds? How much did she suffer as they shoveled dirt onto her, choking out her last breath? For the last fourteen years Lockett lived off the taxpayers as they paid the legal fees for his appeals. How much did Stephanie Neiman’s family suffer as they grieved her loss?
I hope Clayton Lockett suffered when he died. I hope that wherever he is right now he’s still suffering.
Tags: buried alive, capital punishment, crime and punishment, execution, execution of Clayton Lockett, murder of Stephanie Neiman, Prison officials, rape and murder, state of Oklahoma botched execution