Oklahoma uses animal euthanasia drug in execution

OKLAHOMA CITY Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:24pm EST

Related Topics

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - Oklahoma put to death a man on Thursday convicted of strangling his prison cellmate, using for the first time in a U.S. execution a drug often used to euthanize animals.

John David Duty, 58, was pronounced dead at 6:18 p.m. local time, Department of Corrections spokesman Jerry Massie said by telephone from Mcalester, Oklahoma.

Massie said a three-drug cocktail was administered, including pentobarbital, a drug used in euthanasia of animals as well as a sedative for humans. He said it was its first use in a U.S. execution and replaced sodium thiopental, a sedative that was in short supply.

"There were no apparent issues" with the new drug, Massie said. A federal court in Oklahoma ruled the drug could be used in the execution, a ruling upheld by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Duty was convicted of murdering his cellmate, Curtis Wise, with a bedsheet in 2001.

Prison officials said Duty's last words were: To the family of Curtis Wise, I would like to make my apology. One day you will be able to forgive me, not for my sake but for your own. My family and friends are here too. You've all been a blessing. Thank you Lord Jesus. I am ready to go home."

Duty was serving two concurrent life sentences for robbery, shooting with intent to kill, and rape, when he murdered Wise. Duty convinced Wise to pose as a hostage to entice guards to move Duty to a different cell. After binding Wise's hand and foot, Duty strangled him.

Duty then wrote a letter to his victim's mother bragging about the murder.

His execution was the third this year in Oklahoma and the 46th in the United States.

(Editing by Greg McCune and Peter Cooney)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (5)
Ralphooo wrote:
This method of killing a person is surely more humane than hanging, gassing or electrocution. It does not involve the use of violence. The prisoner dies under circumstances which are almost universally familiar within American society, as used for health care.

Intentionally killing another human is drastic and disturbing. Since the electorate still apparently believes such killing is right and necessary, we ought at least make this the standard method.

Dec 17, 2010 12:05am EST  --  Report as abuse
Pravitus wrote:
Appropriate !

Dec 17, 2010 7:20am EST  --  Report as abuse
pjgatorjg wrote:
what does it matter what drug they use as long as it works,?
they use it on animals—–why not on someone that has murdered someone??? why is it even in the paper??
and why is it that all these convicted felons, all of sudden come up with religion????

Dec 17, 2010 8:10am EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.