Debate rages in the United States on whether inmates suffer when they are executed

Debate Rages In The United States On Whether Inmates Suffer When They Are Executed

Chicago – The executors of 13 inmates in the last months of the Donald Trump administration said death by lethal injection was like falling asleep, describing the stretchers as “beds” and the final sigh as a “snoring.”

These versions of the inmates ‘last moments, however, contradict those reported by the Associated Press and other media, which witnessed the inmates’ stomachs convulse and shudder as the pentobarbital began to take effect in the “chamber of death ”from the Terre Haute, Indiana jail. Journalists from the AP witnessed all the executions.

The affidavits of the executioners, which the government presented as evidence that the lethal injections worked well, raise questions about whether the authorities misled the courts to ensure that the scheduled executions of July last year in mid-January were carried out. held before Joe Biden, who opposes the death penalty, took office.


The executions were surrounded by a cloak of secrecy. The courts relied on the accounts of the people who carried them out to determine if there was anything questionable. None of the executioners mentioned anything.

The questions about whether the bodies of the inmates shook, as journalistic reports say, were the focus of several litigation during the period of executions. The inmates’ attorneys argued that pentobarbital was shown to cause pulmonary edema that caused sensations similar to those experienced by someone being suffocated or drowning. The United States Constitution prohibits “cruel and unusual” methods of execution.

Discrepancies in the accounts could increase pressure for Biden to suspend the executions of the roughly 50 inmates on death row. Activists want him to go even further and promote the abolition of the death penalty at the federal level.

Biden has not spoken in detail on the matter.

During the September 22 execution of William LeCroy, convicted of the 2001 murder of nurse Joann Lee Tiesler, LeCroy’s 50-year-old stomach quivered uncontrollably as soon as he was injected with pentobarbital. The seizures lasted a minute, the AP and other media reported.

Eric Williams, who was in charge of the execution and saw her closely, said that the inmate’s abdominal area “rose and then fell.”

“During the entire run,” he added, “LeCroy didn’t seem to feel any discomfort, discomfort or pain. Soon after, he took a deep breath and snored; It seemed that LeCroy had fallen into a deep and peaceful sleep.

In at least half of the executions, a strong shock was felt, according to the AP and other media. None of the executors, however, reported those seizures. They all talked about falling asleep, using similar metaphors.

When the Justice Department announced in 2019 that it would resume executions after suspending them for 17 years, it said it would use only pentobarbital. The laboratories no longer wanted to supply the combination of drugs used in three federal government executions between 2001 and 2003, saying they did not want drugs thought to save lives to be used to kill.

One of the issues discussed was whether, even if there is pulmonary edema, the inmates would feel something after losing consciousness. Government experts said that the drug paralyzes the body and that the person cannot feel pain when dying.

None of those killed at the end of Trump’s tenure appeared to writhe in pain. But the audio from the execution rooms was muted shortly before the injections, so journalists could not determine whether the person was moaning or complaining in pain.

William Breeden, a spiritual adviser at the prison where Corey Johnson, 52, was executed on January 14 after being found guilty in 1992 of killing seven people, said the next day that “Corey’s hands and mouth were burned ”after injection. Federal Bureau of Prisons attorney Rick Winer said neither he nor any government witnesses present at the scene perceived that.

Government attorneys, eager to execute the inmates without delay, tried to detract from the newspaper reports.

In an Oct. 8 presentation, government expert Kendall Von Crowns, who did not witness the executions, said the descriptions of the executioners indicated that the journalists were wrong. He noted that the individual who injected LeCroy “does not say that there was anything irregular or out of control.” Most likely, he said, journalists have perceived a “hyperventilation due to anxiety associated with his impending death.”

In a Sept. 18 hearing in Washington, Crowns said reporters may have seen involuntary breathing in the final moments.

“They don’t drown in their own fluids or because they can’t breathe,” Crowns said. “It has nothing to do with pulmonary edema or anything.”

However, it seems that what the journalists describe is pulmonary edema, according to an expert who spoke on behalf of the inmates, Gail Van Norman. He indicated that the fluids block the airways and alter the rhythm of the chest, diaphragm and abdomen, “giving the sensation that the chest and abdomen are rocking, generating the sensation of agitation.”



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