A Missouri inmate was put to death today for raping and killing a college student in 1995, making him the first U.S. prisoner put to death since an Arizona lethal injection went awry last month, the Associated Press reports. The Missouri Department of Corrections said Michael Worthington was executed by lethal injection. He is the seventh Missouri inmate executed this year. When the drugs began flowing, his head lowered back to the pillow and he appeared to breathe heavily for about 15 seconds before closing his eyes.
Worthington, 43, had predicted that the Supreme Court and Gov. Jay Nixon, saying, “The courts don’t seem to care about what’s right or wrong anymore.” Worthington’s attorneys had pressed the Supreme Court to put off his execution, citing the Arizona execution and two others that were botched in Ohio and Oklahoma, as well as the secrecy involving the drugs used during the process in Missouri. In Arizona, the inmate gasped more than 600 times and took nearly two hours to die. In April, an Oklahoma inmate died of an apparent heart attack 43 minutes after his execution began. In January, an Ohio inmate snorted and gasped for 26 minutes before dying.