Arizona inmate dies belatedly in apparently botched execution

Wood had apparently stayed alive so long that his attorneys filed for an emergency stay after the lethal injection initially failed to kill him, according to a legal filing.

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“The Arizona Department of Corrections began the execution of Joseph Rudolph Wood III at 1:52 p.m.,” said the legal filing in federal court from public defender Jon M. Sands. “At 1:57 p.m ADC reported that Mr. Wood was sedated, but at 2:02 he began to breathe. 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. At that time, staff rechecked for sedation. He is still alive.”

Sands called for Wood’s execution to be halted on the grounds of cruel and unusual punishment and asked that officials try to resuscitate him.

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