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Arizona inmate dies 2 hours after execution began

Joseph Rudolph Wood, 55, was executed Wednesday.

Joseph Rudolph Wood, 55, was executed Wednesday.

FLORENCE, Ariz. — A condemned Arizona inmate gasped and snorted for more than an hour and a half during his execution Wednesday before he died in an episode sure to add to the scrutiny surrounding the death penalty in the United States.

The Arizona Attorney General's Office said Joseph Rudolph Wood was pronounced dead at 3:49 p.m., an hour and 57 minutes after the execution started.

Wood's lawyers had filed an emergency appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court while the execution was under way, demanding that it be stopped. Word that Justice Anthony Kennedy denied the appeal came about a half hour after Wood's death.

Wood, 55, gasped more than 600 times before he died. Defense lawyer Dale Baich called it a botched execution that should have taken 10 minutes.

Gov. Jan Brewer said she is ordering a full review of the state's execution process.

The case has highlighted the scrutiny surrounding lethal injections after controversial executions, including that of an Ohio inmate in January who snorted and gasped in the 26 minutes it took him to die. Arizona uses the same drugs, the sedative midazolam and the painkiller hydromorphone, that were used in Ohio.

Wood was convicted in the 1989 shooting deaths of Debbie Dietz, 29, and Gene Dietz, 55, at an auto repair shop in Tucson.

Arizona inmate dies 2 hours after execution began 07/23/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 10:38pm]
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