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Trial by Fire - Did Texas execute an innocent man?

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The fire moved quickly through the house, a one-story wood-frame structure in a working-class neighborhood of Corsicana, in northeast Texas. Flames spread along the walls, bursting through doorways, blistering paint and tiles and furniture. Smoke pressed against the ceiling, then banked downward, seeping into each room and through crevices in the windows, staining the morning sky.
Buffie Barbee, who was eleven years old and lived two houses down, was playing in her back yard when she smelled the smoke. She ran inside and told her mother, Diane, and they hurried up the street; that’s when they saw the smoldering house and Cameron Todd Willingham standing on the front porch, wearing only a pair of jeans, his chest blackened with soot, his hair and eyelids singed. He was screaming, “My babies are burning up!” His children—Karmon and Kameron, who were one-year-old twin girls, and two-year-old Amber—were trapped inside.
Willingham told the Barbees to call the Fire Department, and while Dia…

Acetate Gate: What’s An Executioner to Do?

aNewDomain — Oklahoma inmate Charles Warner, 47, said his “body was on fire” after executioners used the wrong drug cocktail to execute him, according to an autopsy report released yesterday by the Oklahoma Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Oklahoma falls again under the searing glare of the national spotlight over lack of transparency and for shrouding executioner-providers following the international spectacle of messed-up executions — now focusing on the maladministration of the three-drug series in Warner’s execution of the controversial sedative, Midazolam, the delivery of a paralytic, and the remaining drug supposed to be potassium chloride to stop the heart.

Instead of the required potassium chloride, however, as required by the state’s protocol to induce cardiac arrest, the autopsy report prepared a day after Warner’s execution reveals that the wrong drug was used to kill Warner.

It was potassium acetate — the same drug at the center of Richard Glossip’s eleventh-hour stay last week by Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin.

The confusion appears to have occurred because the syringes were marked as potassium chloride but the vials were listed as “single dose Potassium Acetate Injection” which absorbs at a slower rate than the chloride form in the potassium pharmacological family. Nevertheless, the state is obliged to investigate the reasons the chemical provider — who remains anonymous — supplied the state with potassium acetate instead of the potassium chloride mandated by state law.

In any event, Warner was scheduled for execution on the same evening as Clayton D. Lockett.

After Lockett’s death, a report found that a phlebotomist failed to properly insert an IV line to inject the lethal cocktail of drugs into Lockett’s veins. Instead, the misdirected cocktail breached into other tissue and Lockett eventually died of cardiac arrest following 40 minutes of what appeared to be writhing pain.


Source: ANewDomain, Jim Kelly, October 12, 2015

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