Oklahoma is set to execute two men within two hours of each other tomorrow, a rare occasion in the 21st century — but not in earlier decades, says the Tulsa World. Barring last-minute intervention by the courts or governor, the state plans to execute Clayton Lockett at 6 p.m. and Charles Warner at 8 p.m. Tuesday. Lockett was sentenced to death for killing Stephanie Nieman, 19, in 1999; Warner received the death penalty for raping and killing 11-month-old Adrianna Waller in 1997. Two executions on the same day wasn’t a rare occurrence in the 1930s. The last double execution was on June 11, 1937. On four occasions, Oklahoma put three men to death on the same day. In 1935, it took 14 minutes to execute three self-confessed murderers in the electric chair at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. Known as “Old Sparky,” the electric chair was used to execute 82 inmates from 1915 to 1966.
Lockett and Warner will be injected with a fatal combination of three drugs: midazolam, a sedative; pancuronium bromide, a muscle relaxant that stops breathing; and potassium chloride, which stops the heart. Attorneys for both men have fought over four months against what they say is “extreme secrecy” surrounding a new combination of drugs for the state’s lethal injection process. They’ve argued that both men have a constitutional right to know specific details of how the state plans to kill them. Oklahoma is using a new and untested combination/dosage of these drugs, which leads to questions about whether any negative effects of the combination could violate the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual suffering, defense attorneys have argued.