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White House: Oklahoma execution not done humanely

Posted: April 30, 2014 at 8:29 a.m.
Updated: April 30, 2014 at 1:04 p.m.

This June 29, 2011, file photo provided by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections shows Clayton Lockett. Oklahoma prison officials halted the execution of Lockett on Tuesday, April 29, 2014, after the delivery of a new three-drug combination failed to go as planned.

This June 29, 2011, file photo provided by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections shows Clayton Lockett. Oklahoma prison officials halted the execution of Lockett on Tuesday, April 29, 2014, after the delivery of a new three-drug combination failed to go as planned.

WASHINGTON — The White House says a botched execution of a death row inmate in Oklahoma fell short of the humane standards required when the death penalty is carried out.

Officials halted Clayton Lockett's execution Tuesday when he convulsed violently and tried to lift his head after a doctor declared him unconscious. He later died of an apparent heart attack.

White House spokesman Jay Carney says President Barack Obama believes evidence shows the death penalty doesn't effectively deter crime. But he says Obama believes some crimes are so heinous that the death penalty is merited. He says the crimes in Lockett's case are indisputably heinous.

But Carney says the U.S. has a fundamental standard that the death penalty must be carried out humanely. He says everyone would recognize that this case fell short.

Read Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for more on this story.

Reader poll

What is your opinion of capital punishment in light of the botched execution Tuesday in Oklahoma?

  • I've always been in favor of capital punishment and remain that way. 46% 59 votes
  • The death penalty is wrong, and this fits the definition of "cruel and unusual punishment." 25% 32 votes
  • States should revive older forms of capital punishment, such as the electric chair or firing squad. 18% 23 votes
  • States should find alternate drug options for more humane executions. 7% 9 votes
  • Other (please comment) 3% 4 votes

127 total votes.

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