Obama calls for review of death penalty after botched killing
May 2nd, 2014
01:31 PM ET
6 months ago

Obama calls for review of death penalty after botched killing

Washington (CNN) – Calling a botched state killing in Oklahoma "deeply troubling," President Barack Obama said Friday the federal government would review death penalty procedures around the country.

Obama said he's asked Attorney General Eric Holder to conduct an analysis of how death row criminals are killed after an execution attempt in Oklahoma left an accused murderer writhing and convulsing following a lethal injection.

"I think we do have to, as a society, ask ourselves some difficult and profound questions around these issues," Obama said during a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, while reaffirming his belief the death penalty is an appropriate punishment for certain crimes.

Related: Obama, Merkel disagree on spying issues

On Tuesday, Oklahoma officials said the planned execution of convicted murderer and rapist Clayton Lockett went awry several minutes after he was administered the first of three drugs in the lethal injection cocktail.

Witnesses report Lockett uttered the words "Man," "I'm not," and "something's wrong" before blinds separating media and the execution chamber were lowered.

A reporter said Lockett still appeared to be alive when the partition was lowered, making it impossible for witnesses to view the remainder of the procedure.

Lockett eventually died of a heart attack, officials said.

During his press conference Friday, which focused largely on the situation in Ukraine, Obama pointed to other "significant" flaws in the country's execution system.

"Racial bias. Uneven application of the death penalty. Situations in which there were individuals on death row who later on were discovered to have been innocent because of exculpatory evidence - all these I think do raise significant questions about how the death penalty is being applied," he said.


Filed under: Eric Holder • Oklahoma • President Obama
soundoff (110 Responses)
  1. Harold Read

    Obama needs to push a bill that says murderer and rapists need to murder and rape their victims more humanly.

    Meanwhile...
    People that are eligible to work continue to give up.

    China will overtake the US as the most powerful economy in the world before year's end.

    We only had 0.1% growth for Q1

    Forward!!!

    May 2, 2014 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  2. Tina from Oklahoma

    Are you kodding me!! Does he even know what these 2 did?? They should not be on this planet and so what if they syffer a little!! One of them shot a girl and let her be BURIED ALIVE and then bragged about it and the other one RAPED and Murdered an 11 month old baby!!!! Obam, where is your outrage for the Victims?????????????????????

    May 2, 2014 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  3. angus

    and by the way,,,,the average annual cost in Oklahoma per inmate is $18,467...which WE the taxpayers foot the bill for! THAT is a TRAVESTY!!!

    May 2, 2014 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  4. Denise

    Speaking of torture, did blowhard Sean Hannity ever follow through on his promise to be waterboarded?

    May 2, 2014 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  5. Bill D

    Obama will pardon every inmate on death row when he leaves office. He always feels sorry for the criminal.

    May 2, 2014 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  6. julnor

    Death penalty convictions should be limited to where there is NO doubt that the person did it, not just beyond a reasonable doubt. Have a three judge panel review it and limit to one appeal. Make it faster and cheaper and limit it to those who are without doubt guilty.

    May 2, 2014 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  7. Josh

    Maybe he should focus on the things he is supposed to be doing - which he is not doing well at all - and keep his nose out of the states' business.

    May 2, 2014 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  8. Ron L

    I find it ironic. Americans SWEAR it is a Christian society But I recall ONE extremely important rule from the "GOOD BOOK". THOU SHALL NOT KILL!! And there is no "except for" clause in this commandment. We "Americans" can be so quick to claim our religious roots and yet we have NO PROBLEM making laws that are in DIRECT conflict with its foundation......

    May 2, 2014 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  9. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    I guess no one remembers Clarence Brandtner of good ole TX.... I think it's Brandtner... Convicted of murder, sentenced to death, found out he wasn't guilty about 4 days prior to his execution. The state knows who did it but refuses to prosecute the real killer.

    May 2, 2014 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  10. Firing Squad

    While I think there are good arguments to be made both in favor and against the death penalty, there is entirely too much focus on the "botched" execution and "suffering" by these criminals. Let's not sugar coat what we're doing here. We're killing someone. If you want to make sure they don't suffer, just shoot them in the head. While not technically painless, pain that lasts nanoseconds really shouldn't count. We're not putting a beloved pet to sleep here. We're executing a criminal.

    A bullet is a lot cheaper than all those drugs and IVs anyway.

    May 2, 2014 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
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