Yesterday, the state of Arizona executed Joseph Rudolph Wood III, a convicted double murderer. It took an hour and 40 minutes for Wood to die, as his lawyer said Wood gasped and snorted for the duration of the execution.
Prison officials contended Wood was in no pain, though reporters' accounts contradict those claims and describe a far different scene during the nearly two-hour affair.
A combination of 50 mg of midazolam, a sedative, and 50 mg of hydromorphone, a narcotic, was used, which happens to be the exact dosage of the cocktail Ohio has recommended to use in its executions. Ohio had been using 10 mg of midazolam and 40 mg of hydromorphone, but that cocktail, being used for the first time in the execution of Dennis McGuire in Ohio back in January, led to a similar prolonged wait — it took over 15 minutes for McGuire to die and witnesses described snorting and gasping similar to that of Wood.
The controversy surrounding that lethal injection incident led to plenty of outcry and a court-issued moratorium on executions in the state, which technically ends on Aug. 15. Convicted Summit County killer Ronald Phillips is the next slated execution in Ohio, slated for Sept. 18.