AZ inmate dead 2 hours after execution began - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

UPDATE

AZ inmate dead 2 hours after execution began

Joseph Wood Joseph Wood
Some of the victim's family members address the media after the execution. (Source: CBS 5 News) Some of the victim's family members address the media after the execution. (Source: CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (AP/CBS5) -

Arizona officials say a murderer who was sentenced to death died nearly two hours after his execution started.

Joseph Wood's lawyers had filed a motion for emergency stay of execution in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona during the execution, demanding that it be stopped. The motion said Wood was "gasping and snorting for more than an hour."

Attorney General Tom Horne's office said Wood was pronounced dead at 3:49 p.m., one hour and 57 minutes after the execution started.

Wood's lawyers stated Wood began to breathe five minutes after the execution proceedings began. At 3:03 p.m., his lawyers said Wood was still alive.

At that point, his lawyers filed the motion, stating, "this execution has violated Mr. Wood's Eighth Amendment right to be executed in the absence of cruel and unusual punishment."

[Click here to read the full motion]

Wood was convicted of murder in the 1989 shooting deaths of his estranged girlfriend, Debra Dietz, and her father, Eugene Dietz, in Tucson. 

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is ordering a review of the state's execution process in the wake of the inmate's death.

Brewer said in a statement Wednesday that she's concerned by how long it took for the sedative and pain killer that were injected into Wood's veins to kill him.

The governor said she's directing the Department of Corrections to conduct a full review, but she says Wood's execution showed justice was carried out.

Brewer said medical and eyewitness accounts indicate Wood did not suffer and died in a lawful manner.

One witness described what he saw through the glass in the execution chamber.

"I counted over 600 gulps, you could see him kind of gulping, as he laid there," said reporter Mauricio Marin. "He appeared to be asleep the whole time. It's unsure if he was in any pain."

The family of Wood's victims spoke after the execution. They said whatever Wood felt did not compare to the what his victims went through.

"I saw the life go out of my sister-in-law's eyes," said Richard Brown, who witnessed the shooting 25 years ago.

Family members said they don't think Wood suffered and they believe he got what he had coming to him.

"Why didn't we give him (Wood) a bullet?" Brown said.

The execution came after the U.S. Supreme Court denied several appeals seeking details about the state's execution methods.

Normally death by lethal injection should take between seven and 10 minutes.

There have been several controversial executions recently, including that of an Ohio inmate in January who snorted and gasped during the 26 minutes it took him to die.

The underlying problem is that the companies that used to supply states with the execution drugs are no longer doing so which has left states, like Arizona, scrambling to find other sources for these drugs.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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