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Charles Warner Executed After Short Delay

Department of Corrections

Oklahoma carried out Thursday night its first execution since a troubling one nine months ago in which the inmate seemed to regain consciousness and took 43 minutes to die.

Corrections Director Robert Patton decided to wait until the Supreme Court ruled on Charles Warner's motion for a stay, which was filed Tuesday evening. Prison officials received word it was denied at about 6:20 p.m., which ended up delaying the execution just over an hour.

The execution began at 7:10 p.m., and DOC spokesman Jerry Massie announced the death at 7:28 p.m.

It was Oklahoma's first execution under new protocols that require more training for those involved, access to certain medical equipment and contingency plans. Associated Press reporter Sean Murphy has witnessed the last two executions. He saw some differences between Warner's and Clayton Lockett's.

"[It was] about six minutes before they even checked consciousness, so that's longer," Murphy said during a media briefing.

IV problems during Lockett’s execution in April led to a state investigation and the corrections department's updated lethal injection protocols.

Warner received a nearly identical combination of drugs as Lockett. He received the sedative midazolam, which has been involved in several problematic executions. Warner did receive a larger dose of midazolam than Lockett did.

Murphy said Warner said things indicating trouble with the drug again.

"The execution began at 7:10 p.m. Mr. Warner said, 'My body is on fire'," Murphy said. "At this point, his microphone was turned off. He said, 'No one should go through this.'"

Warner also received the paralytic rocuronium bromide, which is a faster-acting formulation than the vecuronium bromide administered to Lockett.

The final drug administered in both executions was potassium chloride, meant to stop the heart.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.