COLUMBUS, Ohio – A condemned inmate asked prison officials to find another way to execute him as they struggled to administer a lethal injection after an intravenous line failed, prison records show.
"Can you just give me something by mouth to end this?" convicted killer Joseph Clark asked during the 90-minute delay, according to accounts written by members of the execution team and obtained by The Associated Press.
The May 2 execution was plagued with problems from the beginning, when team members struggled for several minutes to find a vein. After inserting a shunt in Clark's arm, the vein collapsed, leading Clark to push himself up and say, "It don't work."
The team then attached a shunt to Clark's other arm but apparently tried to administer the lethal drugs through the first shunt by mistake, the reports said.
A team member noticed the error when Clark continued to move his left foot, said prisons spokeswoman Andrea Dean.
Clark, 57, was executed after officials switched the drugs to the proper line.
The execution happened amid a growing debate about lethal injection, with many death row inmates claiming their deaths could constitute cruel and unusual punishment, either because of the drugs or because the procedure is not handled by specially trained medical personnel.
The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction is reviewing the execution but does not believe its procedures were flawed.
"The vein simply collapsed — that wasn't a flaw in the process," Dean said.
Attorney Alan Konop, who represents Clark's family, said something is "drastically wrong" with the prison's procedures. "We hope that this leads to an honest evaluation and discussion of these problems," he said.
The reports of the execution team do not include the prison employees' names.
The team appeared to anticipate problems from the start, with one member describing that Clark's veins "were not going to be easy to find."
Clark was condemned for killing David Manning to get money for drugs. He also was sentenced to life in prison for killing a store clerk the day before Manning's death as part of a series of robberies.