... the two-hour-long execution of death-row prisoner Joseph Rudolph Wood on Wednesday was not "botched" and called media reports to that effect "premature and erroneous."Not surprisingly, Ryan blamed the media for the controversy that erupted nationwide after the not-bothced execution of Wood on Wednesday, at the same time he refused to take any questions from the media during his press conference.
If what happened Wednesday night is typical for a lethal injection, then why was Director Ryan on the phone during the execution to Attorney General Tom Horne's office? Why had he, during the two-hour ordeal, contacted lawyers with the Department of Corrections if everything was hunky dory? Normally it takes ten to twenty minutes; maybe, after about, say, an hour or more, Ryan suspected something.
Yesterday, though, Arizona corrections officials said Wood was "never in pain," he was effectively brain dead, and the "fish-gulping" (over 600 times) was an involuntary reaction. U.S. District Court Judge Neil Wake, however, asked if that interpretation was verified by an electronic device, such as an electroencephalograph (EEG), which would prove there was no brain activity. Officials said there was no EEG or other monitor, basing their opinion on visual observation, which Judge Wake called "very disturbing."
In the days and weeks leading up to the lethal injection, Wood's attorneys filed lawsuit after lawsuit seeking a stay, based on their view that Arizona was experimenting on the prisoner with drugs that had resulted in flawed executions elsewhere, and with other drugs, protocol and personnel that Wood and his attorneys weren't even permitted to know about.
But Arizona officials assured the courts that the drugs would work and that they should not be required to turn over information about its origins or about the qualifications of the medical team.So how'd that work out? According to Director Ryan, peachy-keen. Even though Wood's attorneys had time to file another lawsuit during the execution.
Meanwhile, Gov. Brewer, whose administration is linked to former correction officials (and their industry's cash), said Wood died in "a lawful manner and by eyewitness and medical accounts he did not suffer." Still, she ordered a review of the execution, while the AG's office and Arizona Supreme Court ordered that Wood's tissue and blood should be preserved.
Because the execution, which Sen. John McCain called "torture," wasn't botched at all.