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Arizona death row inmate takes nearly 2 hours to die during botched execution

Joseph Wood, 55, was ‘gasping and snorting for more than an hour’ after a secret combination of two drugs was applied Wednesday afternoon after a stay of execution was denied. His attorney filed an emergency stay to stop the cruel and unusual punishment.

Joseph Wood, 55, was ordered to die for a 1989 double murder. image www.crimefiles.net

A convicted double murderer snorted and gasped some 600 times as it took him almost two hours to die during a botched Arizona execution Wednesday.

An attorney for Joseph Wood filed an emergency stay of execution about 70 minutes after the procedure had begun and left the 55-year-old inmate “gasping and snorting for more than an hour.”

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“This execution has violated Mr. Wood’s Eighth Amendment right to be executed in the absence of cruel and unusual punishment,” the filing read.

The man was pronounced dead at 3:49 p.m. local time, 117 minutes after it began. Dean Baich, Wood’s defense attorney, said the execution using a combination of midazolam and hydromorphone, should have taken 10 minutes.

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An administrator checked on Wood a half dozen times. His breathing slowed as a deacon said a prayer while holding a rosary.

“Throughout this execution, I conferred and collaborated with our IV team members and assured unequivocally that the inmate was comatose and never in pain or distress,” said state Department of Corrections Director Charles Ryan.

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