OHIO, USA. STATE EXECUTES JOSEPH CLARK AFTER UNPRECEDENTED DELAY
May 2, 2006: Joseph Clark was put to death in Ohio but not until after one of his veins had collapsed, causing the condemned man to sit up and tell his executioners, "It's not working".
The Ohio Department of Corrections said Clark, 57, was pronounced dead at 11:26 am EDT (1426 GMT) following an injection of lethal chemicals at the Southern Ohio Correctional Institution in Lucasville.
Spokeswoman Andrea Dean said the execution was delayed about 90 minutes because technicians had trouble initially finding a site in Clark's arm for the intravenous line carrying the chemicals.
Then shortly after the poisons were supposed to have been pumping into his body, she said, he sat up saying, "It's not working. It's not working."
Officials determined that a vein had collapsed. Curtains were closed to block witnesses' view until technicians found a vein in his other arm. They were then parted to reveal him dying, witnesses said.
Ohio has used lethal injection repeatedly without similar problems, but this method of execution, used in all but one of the 38 US states that impose capital punishment, is under legal attack. The U.S. Supreme Court has a challenge before it from Florida claiming that it causes undue pain, while the matter is also before a court in California.
The method involves three separate drugs: the first renders the victim unconscious, the second stops all muscle movement except the heart and the third stops the heart, causing death.
Just before the execution process started the first time Clark made a final statement apologizing to his victims' families and saying "Today my life is being taken because of drugs. If you live by the sword you die by the sword."
On January 13, 1984, Clark shot Marine reservist and father of two David Manning and stole $65 from the gas station where Manning was working.
The murder came during an eight-day crime spree in which Clark also murdered another man, student Donald Harris, and wounded a third man during an attempted robbery.
After he was arrested, Clark tried to hang himself in his jail cell, and confessed to the murders while recovering in a hospital. He was sentenced to death for Manning's murder.
Clark becomes the 2nd condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Ohio, the 17th in the USA, and the 1021st overall since the nation resumed executions on January 17. 1977. (Sources: Reuters and AP, 02/05/2006)