(Recasts with two-hour execution)
By David Schwartz
PHOENIX, July 23 An Arizona inmate took almost
two hours to die by lethal injection and his lawyers said he
"gasped and snorted" before succumbing in the latest botched
execution to raise questions about the death penalty in the
The execution of convicted double murderer Joseph Wood began
at 1:52 p.m. local time at a state prison complex, and the
55-year-old was only pronounced dead at 3:49 p.m., the Arizona
attorney general's office said.
During that time, his lawyers filed an emergency appeal in
federal court that sought to have the execution halted and their
client given life-saving medical treatment.
The appeal said Wood had been "gasping and snorting for
more than an hour," and that the procedure violated his
constitutional right to be executed without suffering "cruel and
Wood had been one of six death row inmates who sued Arizona
last month arguing that secrecy surrounding the drugs used in
other botched executions in Ohio and Oklahoma violated their
But on Wednesday the Arizona Supreme Court cleared the way
for him to be put to death, lifting a hold after reviewing a
last-minute appeal that involved demands for more information
about the lethal drug cocktail to be used in the execution.
The execution had previously been put on hold by the 9th
U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which said on Saturday that Wood
could suffer "irreparable harm" unless the state divulged
information about the drugs and the qualifications of the
medical staff conducting the execution.
(Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Grant McCool, Lisa
Shumaker and Eric Walsh)