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Botched Execution Rapped By White House
The White House has said the botched execution of a death row inmate in Oklahoma fell short of humane standards.
Clayton Lockett died from an apparent heart attack 43 minutes after his execution began using an untested cocktail of lethal drugs on Tuesday night.
Witnesses said Lockett clenched his teeth and appeared to struggle for 20 minutes before prison officials halted the procedure.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said that President Barack Obama believes the US has a fundamental standard that the death penalty must be carried out humanely.
He said: "I think everyone would recognise that this case fell short."
On Wednesday, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin called for an independent review of the state's execution policies.
Tuesday was the first time Oklahoma used the sedative midazolam as the first element in its lethal drugs cocktail.
Execution drugs have become increasingly difficult to obtain in the US after major drug makers in Europe stopped selling them for use in the death penalty - leading some states to turn to untested drug mixes.
Last week, Lockett lost a joint legal bid with fellow death row inmate Charles Warner that sought information about the source of the drugs being used in their executions.
Warner's execution, which had been scheduled to take place two hours after Lockett's, has been stayed until May 13.
Gov Fallin said Warner's execution will be further delayed if the independent review is not completed by then.
She said: "I believe the death penalty is an appropriate response and punishment to those who commit heinous crimes against their fellow men and women.
"However, I also believe the state needs to be certain of its protocols and its procedures for executions and that they work."
The Oklahoma State Medical Examiner is assisting with Lockett's autopsy and has authorised an independent pathologist to make the final determination on a cause of death.
Lockett was convicted in the 1999 murder of 19-year-old Stephanie Nieman, whom he shot and buried alive in a shallow grave.
Warner, 46, was convicted in the 1997 death of his roommate's 11-month-old daughter.