Oklahoma prison ‘death chamber’ reopened after delays

Image copyright Reuters Image caption John Ryan was put to death on Tuesday, nearly two decades after his trial An Oklahoma execution has resumed after an official called off an execution last week over…

Oklahoma prison 'death chamber' reopened after delays

Image copyright Reuters Image caption John Ryan was put to death on Tuesday, nearly two decades after his trial

An Oklahoma execution has resumed after an official called off an execution last week over concerns the drug cocktail used on an inmate could cause him pain.

Paramedics rushed to the prison where Jerry Drake Varnell was being held on Thursday for an apparent heart attack.

The federal judge overseeing the case, Theresa Buchanan, said she had never halted an execution over the death-inducing drugs.

And the US Supreme Court issued a stay.

Varnell was put to death by lethal injection on Tuesday night for the 1998 shooting death of a female server.

Varnell, a father of four, was convicted in the murder of Stephanie Neiman.

Unlucky timing

Scott Shine, the attorney who was representing Varnell at the time of his execution, said the timing of the court’s decision left Varnell facing the pain of execution while President Donald Trump has the opportunity to pardon him.

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Ronald Cole and Michael Jones were executed in 2013

Varnell did not kill Ms Neiman but hired two hitmen to do it.

Mr Shine said a lawyer for Mr Varnell could have brought the issue to court a year ago, rather than waiting for a stay to become available.

“It’s really difficult when you look at the totality of things,” he said.

Attorney David Autry, who represents the Family of Stephanie Neiman in a lawsuit against the state over its lethal injection system, said: “Words cannot describe the anguish and loss that the murder of Stephanie leaves us all.”

Oklahoma has executed six people since January 2015, including men on death row for triple killings.

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