Botched execution in Oklahoma raises questions in South Dakota - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Botched execution in Oklahoma raises questions in South Dakota

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The debate over how to administer the death penalty has flared up again after problems with a sentence in Oklahoma. 

Clayton Lockett received a lethal cocktail of drugs Tuesday night -- but the drugs didn't properly make it into his bloodstream. He went into convulsions, then died of a heart attack 45 minutes later.

It was the first time the drugs had been used in Oklahoma.

The botched executions raises many questions, including whether the use of these drugs is humane. South Dakota uses a single drug alternative for execution called Pentobarbital.

It's used in many states as an alternative to the three drug method of execution by lethal injection. The three drug method is what was used in Tuesday's botched execution in Oklahoma.

In October of 2012, Eric Robert was executed for killing a corrections officer. Robert was the first South Dakota inmate to be put to death by the one drug method.

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley says the effectiveness of compounded Pentobarbital is evident by the last two executions our state has had.
"What i can tell you as South Dakota's Attorney General that witnessed the execution of both -- the newspapers association as well as the video -- that I believe it  as everybody's opinion that the South Dakota Department of Corrections carried out a conditional humane sentence for both Ronald Moeller, as well as Eric Robert," said Jackley.

Heather Smith with the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota says the botched execution in Oklahoma warrants our state to revisit how compounded pharmacies are used to manufacture Pentobarbital.
"I think the dangers with using compounded Pentobarbital is that we don't know the potency of it, we don't know the purity, we don't know the effectiveness," said Smith.

Pentobarbital is FDA approved for seizures and to be used as a sedative in the operating room.

"We are constantly reviewing our protocols as well as our legislative framework to ensure that the executions that occur here in South Dakota are constitutionally humane," said Jackley.

"So I think we really need to ask ourselves whether it's worth risking or experimenting with people," said Smith.
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