Man Cries 'My Body Is On Fire' as Oklahoma Carries Out Execution

Charles Warner was put to death in Oklahoma Thursday night in the state's first execution since last year's botched lethal injection. (Photo: OK Department of Corrections/AP)

Man Cries 'My Body Is On Fire' as Oklahoma Carries Out Execution

State killing of Charles Warner is first since 'botched' lethal injection last year

Oklahoma executed Charles Warner on Thursday night, marking the first execution carried out in the state since the botched lethal injection of Clayton Lockett last year.

Warner was declared dead at 7:28pm CST after a procedure that reportedly lasted 18 minutes. While he showed no signs of apparent physical distress, he said out loud, "My body is on fire."

"It hurts," he said. "It feels like acid."

According to Associated Press media witness Sean Murphy, Warner also said he had been struck with the needle five times.

After his microphone was turned off, Warner could still be heard from inside the chamber, where he said, "I'm not afraid to die."

Convicted in 1997 of raping and killing an 11-month-old girl, Warner was scheduled to be put to death on April 29, 2014, the same night as Clayton Lockett. His execution was put on hold when Lockett began groaning and writhing in pain on the gurney after being injected with the lethal cocktail and declared unconscious; concerns over the drugs used in executions prompted state officials to put a temporary hold on death sentences until an investigation had been completed.

Warner's attorneys had asked the U.S. Supreme Court for a stay of execution, arguing that the first of three drugs in the cocktail--midazolam--was not sufficient for sedation. The court denied the stay in a 5-4 decision.

Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, and Elena Kagan voted to stay the execution, but were outnumbered.

"Petitioners have committed horrific crimes, and should be punished," Sotomayor wrote in the dissenting opinion. "But the eighth amendment guarantees that no one should be subjected to an execution that causes searing, unnecessary pain before death. I hope that our failure to act today does not portend our unwillingness to consider these questions."

Madeline Cohen, one of Warner's attorneys, reiterated on Thursday night that the midazolam had not been "approved for general anesthesia."

"[B]ecause Oklahoma injected Mr Warner with a paralytic tonight, acting as a chemical veil, we will never know whether he experienced the intense pain of suffocation and burning that would result from injecting a conscious person with rocuronium bromide and potassium chloride," Cohen said.

Join Us: News for people demanding a better world

Common Dreams is powered by optimists who believe in the power of informed and engaged citizens to ignite and enact change to make the world a better place.

We're hundreds of thousands strong, but every single supporter makes the difference.

Your contribution supports this bold media model—free, independent, and dedicated to reporting the facts every day. Stand with us in the fight for economic equality, social justice, human rights, and a more sustainable future. As a people-powered nonprofit news outlet, we cover the issues the corporate media never will. Join with us today!

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.