Oklahoma Convict Who Felt “Body Burning” Executed With Controversial Drug

Michael Lee Wilson was executed using pentobarbital, prison officials tell TIME

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Oklahoma Execution Wilson
Oklahoma Department of Corrections / AP

Michael Lee Wilson

An Oklahoma man who reportedly said “I feel my whole body burning” as he was executed by lethal injection Thursday was killed using a controversial mix of drugs that civil rights groups says constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

Michael Lee Wilson, 38, was executed using a cocktail of drugs including pentobarbital, prison officials confirmed to TIME. The use of pentobarbital in lethal executions has become increasingly common since sodium thiopental, the drug historically used as an anesthetic, became unavailable in 2011 after the manufacturer stopped supplying it for executions.

But pentobarbital is considered a controversial substitute for sodium thiopental because its manufacture is often poorly regulated, and contaminated batches can cause exruciating pain prior to death.

Tanya Greene, advocacy and policy counsel on criminal justice issues for the ACLU, said the use of pentobarbitol in executions is unconstitutional as it violates the Eighth Amendment’s protection against cruel and unusual punishment. Use of the drug in executions, she said, is “basically an experiment on human beings; the risk of extended, painful death is very high. The European manufacturer of pentobarbital objects to its use to kill and has stopped selling the drug to US states for use in executions.”

Wilson’s cry that he felt his “whole body burning” after he was injected with the drug may bolster civil rights groups’ case that pentobarbital should be banned from use in lethal injections.

Lundbeck, a Danish pharmaceutical company that produces pentobarbital, announced in 2011 that it would stop supplying the drug for use in lethal injections since Denmark abolished the death penalty years ago. Lundbeck’s refusal to supply pentobarbital to U.S. prisons has caused a drug shortage that has led some prisons to use a synthetic version of the drug made in compounding pharmacies, which are not regulated by the FDA, according to Mother Jones. These unregulated drugs have been subjected to less rigorous testing, and may include contaminants that cause significant pain.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections spokesman Jerry Massie was unable to comment on the source of the pentobarbital used to kill Wilson.

MORE: The Hidden Hand Squeezing Texas’ Supply of Execution Drugs

Wilson was convicted of robbery and first-degree murder in the killing of one of his convenience store co-workers in 1995. Two of his accomplices were already executed, and a third is serving a life sentence, Fox News reports. 

Before he was injected, he said “I love everybody.” Then once the Warden ordered the execution to begin, he said “I love the world. Love my daughters for me. I’m going to miss you always.” Wilson’s mother, sister, and fiancee were present at the execution.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.

36 comments
richardboyden
richardboyden

His burning was the beginning of HELL for a MURDERER! The Lord used a "Righteous Judgment" to remove his unrepentant hateful soul from off this earth. Now he is with his father the DEVIL...to be an "angel to the devil" in the lake of fire and brimstone! 

HACTOR
HACTOR

A WORD IS ENOUGH

HACTOR
HACTOR

THOU SHALL NOT KILL.VERGENCE IS OF THE LORD.GIVE HIM LIVE IN IMPRISONMENT

gdbill
gdbill

Who gives a rat's ass what this piece of sh!t felt? The real injustice here is that the numb digger was wasting oxygen for the past twenty years.

mary.waterton
mary.waterton

Satan worshiping serial killer Richard Ramirez (aka "Los Angeles Night Stalker") died on death row of old age after 30 years of appeals, including appeals over the appropriate lethal injection that would cause him the least amount of pain.

.

Liberal democrat activist judges. Need I say more?

Mikef999
Mikef999

The answer to "humanely" terminating a life via death penalty, or even livestock for that matter is SO SIMPLE. By placing the "subjects" at a lower elevation, then pumping in VERY INEXPENSIVE nitrogen gas (much heavier than oxygen, so displaces it), suffocation results. The BIG difference, borne out by MANY studies, is that humans become punch-drunk silly/happy (NOT frightened!) while falling unconscious and quickly dying thereafter. Nitrogen is VERY prevalent in our atmosphere and NOT poisonous when dispersed.

Seriously... I think this is such a little known FACT because of fear that many would use nitrogen gas to commit suicide. Painless and absolute... and the most HUMANE!!

Vegasdude
Vegasdude

Mo pain, mo bettah!  Criminals are NOT human, they are wild animals and should be "put down" as such.

Beeftinkle
Beeftinkle

Reading these comments, it is devastating to see you all wish extra pain on another human for your self satisfaction. If this was your child you would be completely against anything even close to what has happened here. There is no place on this earth for people like you and with your antics you damn the rest of us. Truly is saddening to see how fellow humans really are.

Hotpuppy
Hotpuppy

There is always guillotine, hanging, firing squad, drowning, being crushed, burned alive, dropped in the middle of the ocean, placed in a sealed container, etc.  If you don't like pain when you die, then don't commit a capital offense!  Death should be swift and efficient with minimal cost to society.  It should be conducted in such a manner as to permit no survival and serve as an example to others that the convicted behavior has consequences.  If you need to feel sorry for something, adopt a homeless cat or dog.  Volunteer at a shelter, feed the homeless, give money to a charity.  Criminals are not charities.  In many cases, like this one, the crime committed is heinous and no rehabilitation is possible.

bcodog2
bcodog2

The burning sensation is probably what hell feels like............

Openminded1
Openminded1

He is not feeling any pain now. lesson crime does not pay. he should have just got a job like decent people do and he most likely would be alive today.

KayodeByron
KayodeByron

at the point of death they become sober,forgetting the pain caused to their victims.

wfcollins
wfcollins

Although my man instinct says "Too bad the pain didn't linger a little longer for him", my moral compass says that we can never as a society become like the people that we isolate or eliminate from us. I can imagine that as an individual whose family member was taken I would think of nothing else but getting rid of the animal. But collectively we should not go there. Lock them up in isolation forever. No TV, no visits, Just shelter, food, water.

MerrilySnider
MerrilySnider

The Death Penalty is a Barbaric solution to any offense.  It would be a lot better to confine them until death.  It is not only barbaric but, "2 wrongs don't make a right" applies. Plus, it is much cheaper to house a prisoner for life than to execute.  

joecove
joecove

A nation born from words such as "all men created equal" must rightfully protect its citizens from barbaric actions. Even those who have fallen between the cracks must be protected. As easy as it might be to wish and inflict torture on those who have done so to others, we run the risk of becoming those failed nations where justice and equality are a dream.

straydog
straydog

Are we really supposed to care that a convicted criminal, who placed so little value on human life as to kill someone over some convenience store chump-change, felt pain during his execution?

DanBruce
DanBruce

Why use drugs at all? Why not just put the people sentenced to death in an air-tight container and let them use up all the oxygen. They will doze off as the oxygen is used and eventually die in an unconscious state. In essence, by breathing, they execute themselves, and that seems to be both humane and just.

MartinHarvey
MartinHarvey

So he had to experience himself what he did to another human being so he could steal some money? Sounds like the appropriate drug to use to execute him.

zelskid1
zelskid1

So he felt a little pain?

mary.waterton
mary.waterton

@Beeftinkle- These people are on death row because they murdered people. Not accidental killing, mind you, but violent premeditated murder. Did they care how much their victims suffered? Then why should society care if they suffer?

jimrasmussen7253
jimrasmussen7253

So you apparently missed the part of the story where it says that the guy he killed was his CO-WORKER.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@KayodeByron Yes they all see God when they go to prison. to bad he did not see him before he became a killer and went to prison.

MerrilySnider
MerrilySnider

@wfcollins  I'm glad you have a moral compass.  First, when we put someone to death we are no better than they are.  Also, it actually costs less to house them for life without parole than it costs to give them the death penalty.  


My moral compass says that the death penalty is barbaric, heinous, cruel and unusual punishment and should be abolished in all states.  We are one of the few countries that still use this punishment.  


Here is a link to a site of other countries who use the death penalty.  See the chart at the bottom of the page.  China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq have more executions than we do but, Pakistan, Yemen, North Korea, Vietnam and Lybia have less executions.  http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2011/mar/29/death-penalty-countries-world

MerrilySnider
MerrilySnider

@straydog  What makes you so sure that our judicial system is perfect.  Too many people on death row are proven innocent now that we have more sophisticated forensic abilities such as DNA.  And yes, as a human being, we should not want to feel good about taking another's life no matter what they did.  It is cheaper to house them for life than execute them.  


Here is a link to a good article that addresses my comments:  http://www.nbcnews.com/id/29552692/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/t/execute-or-not-question-cost/#.UtD9X_RDuSo

CurleyMurphy
CurleyMurphy

@DanBruce  

I wish if that happen. Someone would kick your racist behind in with them.

sweetenedcafe
sweetenedcafe

@mary.waterton  The problem is that the courts aren't exactly 100 percent accurate when it comes to determining who's guilty or not. There are tons of people placed on death row that are wrongfully convicted. What if it was you, that did absolutely nothing, but were found at the wrong place & time...and you are sentenced to death. A very painful one at that.


And what happens when the courts say. Oops. We made a mistake. And the we killed you. Oh well!! Too late. That's the issue.

NaveedXVO
NaveedXVO

@MerrilySnider @wfcollins  

OI!

"it actually costs less to house them for life without parole than it costs to give them the death penalty."


Gee golly why does it cost more? Because those who think like you have made it that expensive. Murderers should be killed and violent criminals should be sterilized.

MerrilySnider
MerrilySnider

@NaveedXVO Are you making a statement in your first line?  I agree then.  It does actually cost more to execute a prisoner than to house them for life without parole.  


So, gee golly?  What is your definition of violent criminal?  They tried the sterilization years ago with the mentally ill and drug addicts.  But it was found unconstitutional by the SCOTUS.  I have an idea about ignorant people in this country.  They should be sterilized so that their opinions of racism, homophobia and religious right activism can be stopped.  What to you think?

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