OSU Expert Calls Oklahoma Execution Protocol 'Torturous'

OSU Expert Calls Oklahoma Execution Protocol 'Torturous'

This trial against Oklahoma’s execution protocol began in downtown Oklahoma City on Monday, nearly eight years after it was first filed.  

A dozen lawyers representing Oklahoma death row inmates and the state packed into the court room Monday. They came prepared with thousands of expert reports.  

The bulk of the case is being argued over molecular biology and whether the first drug in the state’s three drug cocktail renders a prisoner unable to feel pain. 

Oklahoma State University pharmacologist Dr. Craig Stevens testified no, inmates can likely still feel pain even after the massive amount of sedative floods the prisoner's body. He testified witnesses to the execution would likely be unable to see the pain being experienced because the second drug in the protocol is a muscle paralytic, leaving the prisoner unable to move or speak. 

 Stevens called Oklahoma’s protocol “torturous” adding prisoners likely feel “intense burning pain" before the last drug stops their heart.  

Just before court adjured for the day, an autopsy expert from the mayo clinic in Florida testified in 85% of prisoners executed using a protocol like Oklahoma’s - their lungs filled with fluid causing them to feel “doom, panic, drowning and asphyxiation.“  

During cross examination, attorneys for the state attempted to discredit or offer alternative expert reports.  

Ultimately, it will be up to U.S. District Judge Steven Friot to decide who’s side the sciences on.  

The 74-year-old judge has been asking a lot of questions delving into microbiology in detail.  

The trial will resume on Tuesday at 9 AM.