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Outcry after Oklahoma prisoner vomits and convulses during execution

Oklahoma is coming under sharp criticism after witnesses to the state’s first judicial killing for six years described gruesome scenes of the dying prisoner convulsing and vomiting as he was administered the lethal injections.

John Grant, 60, was pronounced dead at 4.21pm on Thursday at McAlester state penitentiary after he was injected with a triple cocktail of midazolam, vecuronium bromide and potassium chloride. Later, the department of corrections said the killing had gone “in accordance with protocols and without complication”.

But eyewitness accounts from reporters at McAlester’s supposedly state-of-the-art death chamber gave a very different account. Dan Snyder, an anchor at the Oklahoma TV channel Fox 25, said that events went drastically off course the instant the first drug, the sedative midazolam, was injected into the prisoner. On Twitter, Snyder gave his response to the state’s official claim that all had gone according to plan. “As a witness to the execution who was in the room, I’ll say this: repeated convulsions and extensive vomiting for nearly 15 minutes would not seem to be ‘without complication’.”

Maya Foa, joint executive director of the human rights group Reprieve US, said that Grant had suffered the “same horrifying fate as Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner”. The disturbing scenes had occurred as a result of the state returning to the failed methods of lethal injections “under cover of secrecy”.

Foa added that “these drugs were never intended for capital punishment, and it is little wonder that the healthcare companies that make them universally and publicly oppose their misuse in executions. What happened yesterday shows lethal injection is broken beyond repair.” Read the full story in The Guardian US.