By Sean Murphy, Associated Press
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Despite Oklahoma’s bungling of its last three scheduled executions, the state’s top law enforcement officer said justice demands that lethal injections resume once his office’s probe into the last two drug mix-ups are complete.
Republican Attorney General Scott Pruitt said a grand jury directed by his office is nearing completion of a months-long, closed-door investigation into how the wrong drug was used to execute an inmate in January 2015 and then delivered again to death row for a scheduled lethal injection in September that was halted just before the inmate was to die.
Pruitt declined to discuss details while the probe was ongoing, but said state officials have a duty to Oklahoma citizens, who overwhelmingly support the death penalty, that it is carried out properly.
“It’s important that as state officials, when the people of Oklahoma have said unequivocally that the death penalty is the right form of punishment in certain instances … that we carry that out in a very sober and thoughtful way,” Pruitt told The Associated Press.
Since Pruitt launched the investigation in October, three key players connected to Oklahoma’s last several executions have resigned after showing up to testify — Oklahoma State Penitentiary Warden Anita Trammell, former Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton, and Gov. Mary Fallin’s general counsel, Steve Mullins.
Pruitt declined to say whether the resignations were connected to his probe, and all three have been asked not to publicly discuss their grand jury testimony.