Dn! In Depth

Execution Chaos

This page features Democracy Now! coverage of executions, problems with lethal injection, and related interviews about capital punishment in the United States.

Top Stories

  • Joseph-wood-v3
    Arizona’s execution of Joseph Wood was supposed to take about 10 minutes, but stretched out for nearly two hours Wednesday night as he gasped for air after being injected with a...
    Jul 24, 2014 | Story
  • Claytonlockett
    An Oklahoma death row prisoner has died of a heart attack after a botched execution Tuesday night. Clayton Lockett was injected with an untested cocktail of lethal drugs. After struggling...
    Apr 30, 2014 | Story
  • Executiondrugs2
    Texas has executed death row prisoner Ray Jasper after obtaining a new supply of pentobarbital, the drug it uses for executions, just days before its current batch was set to expire....
    Mar 20, 2014 | Story
  • Drug
    As drug companies refuse to let their products be used for the death penalty, states are using untested drug combinations that have resulted in deaths like that of Dennis McGuire in Ohio, where the state used an untested two-drug method despite warnings it might cause immense suffering. We speak with the reporter who witnessed the execution and with a lawyer for a man executed in Missouri with an entirely different lethal drug cocktail, made...
    Feb 07, 2014 | Story
  • Amys_column_default_640x360_2014
    By Amy Goodman with Denis Moynihan

    The state of Oklahoma tortured a man to death this week.

    Apr 30, 2014 | Columns & Articles
  • In 2001, radio producer Dave Isay released "The Execution Tapes," 19 recordings of electrocutions carried out by the state of Georgia since 1984. They remain the only recordings of executions in the United States. They were recorded internally by the Georgia Department of Corrections as a secret official record of the executions. [includes rush transcript]
    Jul 17, 2007 | Story
  • Bigtimeline
    Watch a video timeline of our reports on the case of Troy Davis, including our 6-hour broadcast when Georgia executed him Sept. 21, 2011, despite major questions about his guilt in the killing of off-duty police officer, Mark MacPhail. Davis maintained his innocence until his last breath.
    Sep 20, 2013 | Web Exclusive
  • 9781608462940
    Read an excerpt from the new book, "I Am Troy Davis," and watch Democracy Now! Friday for a special broadcast on the second anniversary of his execution with his sister, Kimberly Davis, the NAACP’s Ben Jealous, and activist Jen Marlowe.
    Sep 19, 2013 | Web Exclusive
  • 20111202_ss_martinacorreia
    We speak with three people who joined us for our special live broadcast on the night Troy Davis was executed in Jackson, Georgia, including his sister, Kimberly Davis. "This is a tough time both for me and my family, but as my brother said, he always wanted us to continue the fight and to keep the faith, and that’s what we’ve been doing," Kimberly Davis says. As Texas executed its eighth prisoner of the year Thursday,...
    Sep 21, 2012 | Story
  • Death_penalty
    In a remarkable story on the journey from grief to forgiveness, Bill Pelke joins us along with renowned activist and "Dead Man Walking" author Sister Helen Prejean to discuss the latest victory for the movement against the death penalty. On Monday, the state of Indiana freed Paula Cooper, the Indiana woman convicted for the 1985 murder of Pelke’s grandmother, elderly Bible school teacher Ruth Pelke, in Gary, Indiana. At the...
    Jun 19, 2013 | Story
  • Sisterhelen
    In this extended web-only interview, Sister Helen Prejean talks about the 20th anniversary of her landmark book "Dead Man Walking," that chronicles her years of anti-death penalty activism. [includes rush transcript]
    Jun 19, 2013 | Web Exclusive
  • Marvin-wilson-5
    Last night, Texas executed 54-year-old Marvin Wilson, despite evidence that he was mentally disabled and reportedly sucked his thumb into adulthood. Wilson’s lawyers had argued that an IQ test on which Wilson scored 61 — nine points below the standard for competency — should have saved him from execution under a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court ruling barring execution of the intellectually disabled. Wilson is the second prisoner in...
    Aug 08, 2012 | Story
  • Willie_jerome_manning-1
    UPDATE 3:25 p.m. EDT: The Mississippi Supreme Court has granted a stay of execution in the Willie Manning case.

    The state of Mississippi is preparing to execute an African-American prisoner tonight, despite an unusual admission from the FBI that its original analysis of the evidence contained errors. Willie Jerome Manning was convicted of murdering Jon Steckler and Tiffany Miller, two white college students, in 1992. The execution is going...

    May 07, 2013 | Story
  • Duane_buck
    Although Duane Buck’s guilt is not in question for the 1995 murder of his former girlfriend Debra Gardner and her friend Kenneth Butler, critics say jurors in his case were led to choose a death sentence over life without parole based on testimony of a state psychologist who argued that African-American criminals are more likely to pose a future danger to the public. We’re joined by two guests: Linda Geffin, the second-chair...
    Apr 01, 2013 | Story
  • Autobee
    We are joined by Bob Autobee, a Colorado resident who is opposing the death penalty for the prisoner who killed his son Eric, a prison guard, in 2002. During the original trial, Autobee supported a death sentence for Edward Montour. But the Colorado Supreme Court threw out Montour’s sentence in 2007 because it was imposed by a judge, not a jury as is required. A decade later, Autobee has now changed his mind. In the new murder trial that...
    Mar 05, 2014 | Story
  • Rosenberg
    As the U.S. Department of Justice considers charging WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange under the Espionage Act of 1917, we speak with Robert Meeropol, the son of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg — the only U.S. citizens to be executed under the Espionage Act, in what’s been described as the most controversial death sentence in U.S. history. This week, Meeropol released a widely read statement in support of WikiLeaks called, "My...
    Dec 30, 2010 | Story
  • Terry_williams-death_row
    Advocates for child victims of sexual abuse are calling on Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett to grant clemency to Terrance "Terry" Williams, who is scheduled to be executed on October 3. In 1986, Williams was convicted of killing Amos Norwood. What the jury in that case did not know is that Norwood had sexually abused Williams and had allegedly violently raped him the night before. Furthermore, Williams had suffered years of physical and...
    Sep 14, 2012 | Story
  • Troydavis
    Two years ago, on Sept. 21, 2011, the state of Georgia executed Troy Anthony Davis. The execution took place despite major doubts about evidence used to convict Davis of killing police officer Mark MacPhail, including the recantation of seven of the nine non-police witnesses. "The fight is not over. It’s actually just beginning, and we still have a long way to go,” says Troy Davis’ sister, Kimberly Davis, of the family’s...
    Sep 20, 2013 | Story
  • Timothy_mckinney_deathrow
    In order to win his newfound freedom, Memphis death row prisoner Timothy McKinney had to plead guilty to a murder he maintains he did not commit. McKinney was initially convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death for the fatal shooting of police officer Don Williams in December 1997. McKinney appealed and won a new trial, which ended with a deadlocked jury. A third trial earlier this year also ended in a hung jury. As part of a...
    May 22, 2013 | Story
  • Willie_jerome_manning
    The Mississippi Supreme Court has blocked the execution of Willie Jerome Manning just hours before he was scheduled to die. The case attracted national attention after the FBI admitted that its original analysis of the evidence in Manning’s case contained errors. Last week the Mississippi Supreme Court refused to allow new DNA testing that could prove Manning’s innocence.
    May 07, 2013 | Web Exclusive
  • Jeanne_woodford
    The former warden of San Quentin State Prison, Jeanne Woodford, joins us to discuss why she has come out in favor of Proposition 34, a ballot initiative to abolish the death penalty in California. Home to nearly a quarter of the nation’s death row population and in a state coping with budget crisis, independent analysts estimate that getting rid of the death penalty could save California taxpayers $130 million annually. The latest polls...
    Oct 25, 2012 | Story
  • Splash_image20111003-31401-t50541-0
    This weekend in Savannah, Georgia, Troy Anthony Davis was laid to rest. Davis was killed by lethal injection in Jackson, Georgia, on September 21 after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to stop his execution. The 2,000-seat Jonesville Baptist Church was filled to capacity for his funeral. While his body was being lowered into the burial ground, 23 doves were released. The first was symbolic of his spirit, and the remaining 22 represented each...
    Oct 03, 2011 | Story
  • Benjealous
    Lawmakers in Connecticut have given final approval to a measure that would repeal the state’s death penalty for future convictions. The bill now goes to Gov. Dannel Malloy, who’s pledged to sign it into law. Connecticut would become the fifth state in five years to abolish the death penalty and the 17th state overall, moving activists closer to the 26 states needed to bring a challenge to the Supreme Court. "This is our first...
    Apr 12, 2012 | Story