Oklahoma governor: We don’t have blood on our hands

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin  last month in Oklahoma City. (Sue Ogrocki/AP)
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin  last month in Oklahoma City. (Sue Ogrocki/AP)

In the wake of last week’s highly-publicized botched execution in Oklahoma, the state’s governor called for a review and announced that another execution would be delayed indefinitely.

But criticism of the execution kept mounting in the days that followed, with President Obama and the human rights office of the United Nations joining a chorus of people discomfited by the botch. Clayton Lockett writhed and grimaced on the gurney after the vein funneling the lethal injection collapsed; the execution was called off, but he died of a heart attack shortly thereafter.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R), in a column published Monday, defended the state and outlined the crimes that ultimately resulted in Lockett being sentenced to death.

Lockett was convicted and sentenced to death in 2000 for a host of violent crimes committed during and after a robbery, as my colleague Jaime Fuller detailed last week. He and two accomplices beat up a man they planned to rob, after which they beat and sexually assaulted two women who arrived at the house. The other victims said that Lockett twice shot one of the women, a teenager named Stephanie Neiman, who was then buried alive.

“Lockett had his day in court,” Fallin wrote. “The state lawfully carried out a sentence of death. Justice was served. It is my hope that Stephanie Neiman’s family and friends, as well as Lockett’s surviving victims, have found some measure of closure and peace.”

Fallin particularly took issue with the idea that the people of Oklahoma “have blood on their hands,” a notion she attributed to “anti-death penalty advocates” and pundits outside the state.

“The people of Oklahoma do not have blood on their hands,” she said. “They saw Clayton Lockett for what he was: evil. His execution means he will never again harm or terrorize another person.”

Fallon admitted that “the process of death by lethal injection took too long,” saying again that the state would develop new execution protocols and hold off on any other executions until that process is finished.

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.
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Mark Berman · May 6