Arizona execution lasts nearly two hours

BY Ariel Min  July 24, 2014 at 11:47 AM EST

Arizona inmate Joseph R. Wood, whose drawn-out execution lasted for an hour and 57 minutes. Photo courtesy of Arizona Department of Corrections

Arizona inmate Joseph R. Wood, whose drawn-out execution lasted for an hour and 57 minutes. Photo courtesy of Arizona Department of Corrections

The execution of an Arizona man on death row lasted for nearly two hours on Wednesday, before he took his final breath.

According to an AP reporter’s witness account, convicted murderer Joseph Rudolph Wood III started gasping 10 minutes after the lethal injection was administered, with the gasps repeating every five to 12 seconds.

When the gasps continued, Wood’s lawyers filed a legal appeal to federal and state courts, demanding them to halt the execution.

“At 1:57 p.m. [officials] reported that Mr. Wood was sedated, but at 2:02 he began to breathe,” the legal filing read. “At 2:03 his mouth moved. Mr. Wood has continued to breathe since that time. He has been gasping and snorting for more than an hour. At 3:02 p.m. … staff rechecked for sedation. He is still alive.”

The execution began at 1:52 p.m. One hour and 57 minutes later, Wood was declared dead at 3:49 p.m.

The botched execution at the Arizona State Prison Complex raised questions again about the lethal injection procedure to execute death row inmates. In January, Ohio used the same two-drug combination for the execution of Dennis McGuire, which took more than 25 minutes.