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Guess What? That Botched Arizona Execution From Last Month Was Way More Botched Than You Already Thought!
Remember, oh faithful Wonkers, about 10 days ago when we had our last horrifically botched execution in these here United States, a thing that is happening so often we are running out of synonyms for "horrifically botched"? Lest you have already forgotten, that was the one where Joseph Wood lay gasping for air and snorting for so very long that his lawyers actually had time to file a request to stop the execution after it had been going on for an hour already. Lest you also too forgot, that is the one where the spokesflack for the Arizona Attorney General's office was like "naw, he's just sleeping. That's how they sleep in Arizona" and no one knew whether to cry or laugh at the fact that someone would say something so awful and tone deaf? Oh, NOW you remember. THAT horrifically botched execution. Tough to keep track, we know.
Anyway, the execution of Joseph Wood is back on our radar today after the most depressing Friday news dump ever, when Wood's attorney got his mitts on the Department of Corrections's logs about the execution and found out that the state jammed him with 15 -- YES WE SAID 15. ONE-FIVE. FIFTEEN -- doses of their homegrown lethal drug cocktail, because you might as well go big or go home if you're going to kill someone in a completely 8th Amendment violate-y sort of way, right?
An execution team violated state execution policy by injecting Joseph Wood with 15 doses of a lethal drug combination, the inmate’s attorney said.
Wood’s attorney, Dale Baich, said the Department of Corrections’ execution protocol, or policy, allows for a second dose if the inmate is still conscious three minutes after the first dose. [...]
According to the injection log, Wood was given the first dose at 1: 52 p.m. on July 23 and was confirmed sedated five minutes later. By 2:30 p.m. Wood had been given his fourth dose and was confirmed sedated on each of his previous injections.
Wood was given his 15th dose three minutes before he was pronounced dead at 3: 49 p.m., according to the logs, which were provided to Baich by the department.
You guys, we are not fancy-schmancy department of corrections death administrators, nor are we attorney general spokespeople, but even our humble minds can comprehend the fact that SWEET JESUS 15 DOSES IS WAY MORE THAN TWO. Your own fucking logs, Arizona, show that you just kept pumping this dude with drugs until he died, which is not actually how the whole lethal injection protocol is supposed to work, because it is not supposed to be a two-hour nightmare of ramming drugs into someone until they die. That's a fucking Law and Order episode, not real life.
Oh god, we almost forgot our standard death penalty story disclaimer. Was it as horrible for Wood to die this way as it likely was for his victims? NOPE PROLLY NOT. Does that matter even one whit to this argument? NOPE SURE DOESN'T! You can hate Wood and his crimes and still not wish for the state to put him to death. Hell, you can even wish for the state to put him to death (though we will fight you on that one, actually) and still not wish that the whole thing was such a horrible clusterfuck that they had to pump the guy full of 750mg each of midazolam and hydromorphone to finally kill him, leaving him conscious and gasping for two hours. Oh, you're wondering how much 750mg of midazolam might be, because for all we know, it's a perfectly lovely little amount like you'd take on Saturday night with some friends when you want to unwind, right? SHUT UP NOPE IT IS NOT.
Each dose contained 50 milligrams each of midazolam, a sedative, and hydromorphone, a painkiller. Dr. David Waisal, a Harvard University professor and anesthesiologist, said midazolam is generally given in doses of two to four milligrams to patients going under surgery to calm their nerves and make them forget going to surgery.
So next time you go to surgery, imagine them giving you about 200 times the amount of midazolam they normally give you, but instead of calming you down, it just kills you, but only real slow and terrible-like, in a cool "endlessly suffocating to death" sort of way. We are pretty sure that's exactly what the Founding Fathers had in mind, because they were actually just funning about that whole "no cruel and unusual" thing. Those guys were such cards.