~ botched executions ~

Even though I do have a teeny weeny obsession with death, I am totally against the death penalty. They can't kill the people that I look up to! hehe just kidding! Some people think that these criminals deserve to be killed for what they did, but I DON'T! Here are some of the executions that have gone wrong... interesting... but not right.

Know of any others that I could add here? Let me know! Please!

Most of these are from the Death Penalty Information Center.

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1. April 22, 1983. John Evans. Alabama. After the first jolt of electricity, sparks and flames erupted from the electrode attached to his leg. The electrode then burst from the strap holding it in place and caught on fire. Smoke and sparks came out from under the hood. Two physicians entered the chamber and found a heartbeat. The electrode was reattached to his leg. More smoke and burning flesh. Again doctors found a heartbeat. Ignoring the pleas of Evan's lawyer, Russ Canan, a third jolt was applied. The execution took 14 minutes and left Evan's body charred and smoldering.

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2. Sept. 2, 1983. Jimmy Lee Gray. Mississippi. Officials had to clear the room eight minutes after the gas was released when Gray's desperate gasps for air repulsed witnesses. His attorney, Dennis Balske, criticized state officials for clearing the room when the inmate was still alive. As witnessed by David Bruck, "Jimmy Lee Gray died banging his head against a steel pole in the gas chamber while reporters counted his moans (eleven, according to the Associated Press)"

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3. December 12, 1984. Alpha Otis Stephens. Georgia. After the first jolt of electricity failed to kill him, Stephens struggled for eight minutes before a second charge finished the job. The first jolt took two minutes, and there was a six minute pause so his body could cool before physicians could examine him (and declare that another jolt was needed.) During that six-minute interval, Stephens took 23 breaths.

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4. March 13, 1985. Stephen Peter Morin. Texas. Had to probe both arms and legs with needles for 45 minutes before they found the vein. (Maybe they should have got a heroin addict in there to get the job done a little faster or even #6 hehe)

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5. October 16, 1985. William E. Vandiver. Indiana. He was still breathing after the first administration of 2,300 volts, and the current had to be applied three more times before he died. Vandiver's attorney, Herbert Shaps, witnessed the killing and said it was outrageous. The Department of Corrections admitted the execution "did not go according to plan." The physician who pronounced death said, "This is very rare."

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6. August 20, 1986. Randy Woolls. Texas. A drug addict, Woolls had to help the executioner technicians find a good vein for the execution. (How bad is THAT?!)

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7. December 13, 1988. Raymond Landry. Texas. Pronounced dead 40 minutes after being strapped to the execution gurney and 24 minutes after the drugs first started flowing into his arms. Two minutes into the killing, the syringe came out of Landry's vein, spraying the deadly chemicals across the room toward the witnesses. The execution team had to reinsert the catheter into the vein. The curtain was drawn for 14 minutes so witnesses could not see the intermission.

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8. May 24, 1989. Stephen McCoy. Texas. Had such a violent physical reaction to the drugs (heaving chest, gasping, choking, etc.) that one of the witnesses (male) fainted, crashing into and knocking over another witness. Houston attorney Karen Zellars, who represented McCoy and witnessed the execution, thought that the fainting would catalyze a chain reaction. The Texas Attorney General admitted the inmate "seemed to have a somewhat stronger reaction," adding "The drugs might have been administered in a heavier dose or more rapidly."

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9. July 14, 1989. Horace F. Dunkins. Alabama. It took two jolts (nine minutes apart) to kill this mentally retarded inmate. The foul-up was caused by "human error:" faulty cable hookups. As a result, there was not enough current to cause death. Death was pronounced 19 minutes after the first jolt.

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10. May 4, 1990. Jesse Joseph Tafero. Florida. When the state replaced a "natural" sponge with a synthetic sponge in the headpiece of the execution apparatus, six-inch flames erupted, and three jolts of power were required to stop Tafero's breathing. Support for the state's faulty sponge theory was generated by sticking a part of it into a "common household toaster" and noting that it smoldered and caught fire. Extensive investigation by the office of the Capital Collateral Investigator in Tallahassee questioned this theory as other states have used synthetic sponges with no problems.

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11. October 17, 1990. Wilbert Lee Evens. Virginia. During the electrocution, blood spewed from the right side of the mask on Evens' face, drenching Evens' shirt with blood. Evens' continued to moan after the first jolt of electricity was applied. The autopsy concluded that the blood resulted from high blood pressure brought on by the electrocution.

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12. January 24, 1992. Rickey Ray Rector. Arkansas. It took medical staff more than 50 minutes to find a suitable vein in Rector's arm. Witnesses were not permitted to view this scene, but reported hearing Rector's loud moans throughout the process. During the ordeal, Rector (who suffered serious brain damage from a lobotomy) tried to help the medical personal find a vein. The administrator of the State's Department of Corrections medical programs said (paraphrased by a newspaper reporter) "the moans did come as a team of two medical people that had grown to five worked on both sides of his body to find a vein." The administrator said "that may have contributed to his occasional outburst."

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13. March 10, 1992. Robyn Lee Parks. Oklahoma. Parks had a violent reaction to the drugs used in the lethal injection. Two minutes after the drugs were administered, the muscles in his jaw, neck, and abdomen began to react spasmodically for approximately 45 seconds. Parks continued to gasp and violently gag. Death came eleven minutes after the drugs were administered.

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14. April 23, 1992. Billy Wayne White. Texas. It took 47 minutes for authorities to find a suitable vein, and, ONCE AGAIN, the man ready to die eventually had to help them.

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15. May 10, 1994. John Wayne Gacy. Illinois. After the execution began, one of the three lethal drugs clogged the tube leading to Gacy's arm, and therefore stopped flowing. Blinds, covering the window through which witnesses observe the execution, were then drawn. The clogged tube was replaced with a new one, the blinds were opened, and the execution process resumed. Anesthesiologists blamed the problem on the inexperience of the prison officials who were conducting the execution, saying that proper procedures taught in "IV 101" would have prevented the error.

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16. May 3, 1995. Emmitt Foster. Missouri. Foster was not pronounced dead until 30 minutes after the executioners began the flow of the death chemicals into his arms. Seven minutes after the chemicals began to flow, the blinds were closed to prohibit the witnesses from viewing the scene; they were not reopened until three minutes after death was pronounced. According to the coroner, who pronounced death, the problem was caused by the tightness of the leather straps that bound Foster to the gurney; it was so tight that the flow of chemicals into his veins was restricted. It was several minutes after a prison worker finally loosened the strap that death was pronounced. The coroner entered the death chamber twenty minutes after the execution began, noticed the problem, and told the officials to loosen the strap so that the execution could proceed.

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17. July 18, 1996. Tommie Smith. Indiana. Smith was not pronounced dead until 80 minutes after the execution team began to administer the lethal combination of intravenous drugs. Prison officials said the team could not find a vein in Smith's arm and had to insert an angio-catheter into his heart, a procedure that took 35 minutes. According to authorities, Smith remained conscious during that procedure.

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18. March 25, 1997. Pedro Medina. Florida. With the first jolt of electricity, blue and orange flames sparked from the mask covering Medina's face. Flames up to a foot long shot out from the right side of Medina's head for 6 - 10 seconds. The execution chamber clouded with smoke, and the smell of burnt flesh filled the witness room.

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19. May 8, 1997. Scott Carpenter. Oklahoma. Two minutes after the lethal chemicals began flowing into the body of Scott Carpenter at 12:11 a.m., he began to make noises, his stomach and chest began pulsing, and his jaw clenched. In total, his body made 18 violent convulsions, followed by 8 milder ones. His face, which first turned a yellowish gray, had turned a deep purple and gray by 12:20 a.m. He was officially pronounced dead at 12:22 a.m.

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20. June 13, 1997. Michael Elkins. South Carolina. Elkins's execution was delayed for 40 minutes while numerous attempts were made to insert the IV needles in a suitable vein for the lethal injection. Because of Elkins' poor physical condition, the first needle was ultimately inserted in Elkins's neck (attempts to use his arms, legs, feet were not successful) and the second needle was not used.

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21. April 23, 1998. Joseph Cannon. Texas. It took two attempts to complete the execution of Joseph Cannon. The first time, a vein in his arm collapsed and the needle popped out. Cannon had laid back and closed his eyes when he realized what had happened. "It's come undone," he told witnesses. Officials pulled a curtain to block witnesses from seeing what was happening and fifteen minutes later the second attempt began.

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22. July 8, 1999. Allen Lee Davis. Florida. When hit with the 2,300 volts, blood poured from Davis' mouth. The blood poured onto the collar of his white shirt, and oozed onto his chest. By the time he was pronounced dead, the stain on Davis' chest had grown to the size of a dinner plate, and seeped through buckle holes on the leather chest strap holding him to the chair. Davis was the first inmate to be executed in Florida's new electric chair.

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