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White House Calls Botched Execution Not Humane

Clayton Lockett was convicted of shooting Stephanie Nieman in Kay County in 1999. (Photo provided by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections)
The White House says the execution of a death row inmate in Oklahoma fell short of the humane standards required when the death penalty is carried out.

White House spokesman Jay Carney says President Barack Obama believes evidence shows the death penalty does not effectively deter crime. But he says Obama believes some crimes are so heinous the death penalty is merited. He says the crimes in Clayton Lockett's case are indisputably heinous.

Officials halted Lockett's execution by lethal injection Tuesday when he convulsed violently and tried to lift his head after a doctor declared him unconscious. The convicted rapist and murderer later died of an apparent heart attack.

Oklahoma's governor ordered a 14-day stay of execution for an inmate who was scheduled to die just two hours after Lockett.

An autopsy on the 38-year-old Lockett will include an examination of the injection sites on his arms and a toxicology report to determine what drugs were in his system. A spokesman said it could take two to four months to complete the toxicology report.

Oklahoma was using a new mixture of chemicals after some drug makers imposed sales bans because they objected to the medications' use in lethal injections.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma called for an immediate moratorium on state executions.

A four-time felon, Lockett was convicted of shooting 19-year-old Stephanie Neiman and watching as two accomplices buried her alive in rural Kay County in 1999. Neiman and a friend had interrupted the men as they robbed a home.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.