The Edmond Sun

Local News

May 10, 2014

Execution ritual cloaked in secrecy

McALESTER — Black-hooded executioners passing through the halls of Oklahoma State Penitentiary on execution day form one of Randy Lopez’s most vivid memories during the years he worked on death row.

Lopez, now retired from the Department of Corrections, said he never knew who was under the hoods. Executioners’ identities — even genders — were close secrets kept from everyone including those responsible for guarding death row.

In a further measure to protect their identities, the people whose job it was to push the plungers filled with lethal drugs were always first to arrive before an execution, Lopez said.

They were led to an anteroom next to the execution chamber, out of the view of witnesses.

Afterward, they were last to leave.

Oklahoma has executed 96 prisoners since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976, and the execution ritual at the penitentiary in McAlester is proscribed by policies that detail everything including the shoes a condemned prisoner must wear.

But key parts including identities of major players — phlebotomists, doctors who monitor the procedure and executioners — are kept secret by courts and state law.

Problems that delayed and ultimately led prison officials to halt the execution of Clayton Lockett, 38, on April 29, have intensified calls for transparency from death penalty opponents. Lockett died of an apparent heart attack, prison officials said, shortly after the procedure was stopped.

Brady Henderson, legal director of the ACLU of Oklahoma, said while some parts of the execution are clear, many others are hidden behind a “wall of secrecy.” The public, he said, doesn’t know who’s involved, their training, how much they get paid, the source of the lethal drugs or their purity.

“There are even a lot of controls that people working there at the prison have no idea who they are,” Henderson said.

Henderson said courts, at least, must be apprised of which pharmacy supplies the execution drugs, as well as whether the phlebotomist who inserts IVs into the prisoner is properly certified. Strange things can happen, he said, if drugs are not administered correctly.

“You can have a drug that is essentially a different drug when it hits your bloodstream,” he said. “You can have a lot of bizarre things happen.”

Text Only
Local News
  • Election board absentee voting deadline nears

    Voters who want to have absentee ballots mailed to them for the runoff primary election Aug. 26 should apply now. Although the County Election Board can accept applications for absentee ballots until 5 p.m. Aug. 20, voters who want to vote by absentee ballot are urged to apply early.
    Absentee ballot application forms are available at the County Election Board office, located at 4201 N. Lincoln Blvd. in Oklahoma City.

    August 1, 2014

  • spts-Weber St. Anthony Morales.jpg Bulldog grad a Carolina Panther

    Former Edmond Memorial linebacker Anthony Morales is not going to attend school this fall at Weber State University.
    Instead, he signed an NFL contract with the Carolina Panthers Thursday morning.
    “I’m on the 90-man roster and I've got to make the cut, so I’ll be in the preseason games and then after the third one, they do the cut to 55 and then after the last game, they go down to 53,” Morales said. “(The Panthers)” have 10 linebackers, including myself.”

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Edmond Santa Fe hosting Punt, Pass & Kick competition

    Young pro football fans will have the opportunity to exhibit their football skills when the Edmond Santa Fe Touchdown Club hosts an NFL Punt, Pass & Kick competition Saturday, Aug. 16 at the Edmond Santa Fe Football Stadium, 1901 N.W. 15th St. Registration will begin at 8 a.m. with the competition kicking off an hour later. Punt, Pass & Kick is free and open to boys and girls ages 6-15. Entry forms and rules are available online at NFLPPK.com. For competition information, contact Kelly Kay at kkay@ymcaokc.org.

    August 1, 2014

  • pm_eagle scout John Giachino .JPG Scout earns Eagle rank

    John Bernard Giachino, 16, of Edmond, was awarded his Eagle Scout rank March 26. He is a member of Venture Crew 2021 chartered by St. John the Baptist in Edmond. John is the son of Phillip and LaDonna Giachino, grandson of Linda and the late John Giachino of Oklahoma City and Fred and Joanne Horinek of Newkirk.
    John’s Eagle Scout service project was designing and building a gaga pit for Camp Dakani in Oklahoma City for future Boy Scouts of America to play and enjoy for years to come.
    John will be a junior at Bishop McGuinness High School, where he is a member of the golf team and National Honor Society. He attends St. John the Baptist Church and participates in Life Teen. John recently visited Peru on a mission trip.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • State Education Department looking to develop new academic standards

    The Oklahoma State Department of Education is encouraging Oklahoma educators, parents and others interested in public education to consider taking part in the development of new academic standards for English language arts (ELA) and mathematics. Coordinated by OSDE, the standards-creation process is designed to be as inclusive and comprehensive as possible.

    August 1, 2014

  • Edmond fire chief resigns amid internal review

    Embattled Edmond Fire Chief Jake Rhoades, in a letter sent to the media, stated he is resigning out of necessity for his health and the best interests of his family.

    August 1, 2014

  • 1,000th baby group.jpg INTEGRIS welcomes 1,000th birth since opening in October 2011

    Being the father of a new baby boy is pretty exciting, but being the father of INTEGRIS Health Edmond’s 1,000th baby made it even more special.
    “When we got to the hospital, the night-shift nurse told us we were in a race with another couple who had gotten there at 7 a.m.,” said Bryan Lane, the new baby’s father.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • okco fair 100.jpg Oklahoma County Free Fair offers competition, free fun

    Oklahoma County residents are invited to compete in the 100th annual Oklahoma County Free Fair as they take part in many activities scheduled just for them.
    The county fair will get underway Aug. 21-23 at the Oklahoma State Fair Park and will be highlighted by its open adult and youth along with 4-H and Oklahoma Home and Community Education categories, as well as its special contest and activities.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Great Expectations names 4 Edmond public schools ‘Model Schools’

    Great Expectations, a non-profit foundation that provides intensive professional development to teachers and administrators, announces four Edmond Public Schools have earned the organization’s highest distinction: Model School. Based on Great Expectations theory implementation, there are three categories of recognition, including Transitional School, Progressive School and Model School.

    July 31, 2014

  • Grieving children find support at Calm Waters

    Calm Waters Center for Children and Families offers free support groups for children, ages 3–18 and their families whose lives have been affected by death or divorce.
    Oklahoma continues to rank among the top states in the nation for unintentional and premature deaths, leaving single parents raising children. Additionally, Oklahoma continues to have one of the highest divorce rates per capita in the nation. These tragedies leave children feeling isolated, sad, and uncertain.

    July 31, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Video
Under Armour Launches Biggest Women's Campaign with Inspiring Ad NYPD chokehold death of Eric Garner was homicide: medical examiner Christina Aguilera Pulls a Demi Moore! Man with no arms throws first pitch Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement Is Justin Bieber Dating a Model? Guardians of the Galaxy (Trailer) 'Sharknado 2:' Hottest Memes Surfing The Net Snoop Dogg Narrating Animal Footage Is Perfect Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian Recapping a Blockbuster MLB Trade Deadline Tigers Acquire David Price - @TheBuzzeronFOX Russell Brand Slams Sean Hannity Over Gaza Conflict Segment Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Brian Williams Reports on Daughter Allison Williams' 'Peter Pan' Casting News Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2"
Poll

The runoff race for the 5th District congressional seat is set for Aug. 26. If the voting were today, which candidate would you support?

Al McAffrey
Tom Guild
Undecided
     View Results