Wednesday, June 20, 2018
News Roundup

Oklahomans say killer got what he deserved

McALESTER, Okla. — Geneva Miller was a bit annoyed as she dug into an egg salad sandwich at the Heavenly Delights bakery.

She can't believe that her state, with its strong support for capital punishment, is being pilloried across the nation because of one botched execution.

"We're just crazy about how everybody thinks Oklahoma is bad for supporting the death penalty," Miller said. "We just don't understand how they could think otherwise — that it wouldn't be right."

New details continued to spill out this week about the fumbled execution of inmate Clayton Lockett, 38, who died of an apparent heart attack Tuesday after authorities halted a lethal injection that caused him to convulse and a vein to burst.

The case prompted state officials to order a review of the way executions are carried out and has revived a national debate over whether the death penalty is inhumane. But for Miller and many other Oklahomans, Lockett, who shot and ordered the live burial of a teenager in 1999, got exactly what he deserved.

"It's like the Lord said: You reap what you sow," said F.W. Sexton, who had just finished eating at a diner in Checotah, which bills itself as the Steer Wrestling Capital of the World. "And she died a terrible death."

President Barack Obama, who supports the death penalty for heinous crimes, said Friday that the Oklahoma case was "extremely troubling" and should prompt a re-examination of the way executions are carried out.

The Justice Department later outlined a relatively narrow review focused on how executions are carried out rather assessing the entire system.

In McAlester, Checotah and other towns in eastern Oklahoma, there is some discomfort about how the execution played out, and many agree that changes should be made to the system. But there is little argument about the final outcome for Lockett.

"I think he got what's coming to him," said James Barr, who was buying a coffee at the Harbor Mountain Coffee House in McAlester, about 2 miles from the Oklahoma State Penitentiary, the site of the botched execution.

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