Oklahoma is set to execute 39-year-old Michael Hooper after challenges to the state’s lethal injection method failed.
Among other challenges to the state’s execution method, Hooper asked that the Department of Corrections be required to have another dose of pentobarbital on hand, in case the first injection of the sedative was ineffective. In his appeal, he argued that if the drug was ineffective, the remaining drugs used in the 3-drug injection could cause pain and suffering that would violate the Eight Amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.
However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit denied Hooper’s claim, saying he “failed to offer anything more than speculation that the lack of a backup dose of pentobarbital would be dangerous.”
Hooper’s attorney, Jim Simmons, is now appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“My client was not wanting a delay. He just wants [the state] to do it right,” Mr. Simmons told the Wall Street Journal.
Hooper was convicted of first-degree murder for the 1993 shootings of his former girlfriend and her two children. His death sentences were overturned in 2002, but in 2004 he received the death penalty again.
If executed, Hooper will be the 100th inmate executed in Oklahoma and the fourth carried out in the state in 2012.
UPDATED: Hooper was denied a stay by the U.S. Supreme Court and was pronounced dead at 6:14 p.m. local time, six minutes after the drugs began to flow. According to a prison spokesman, his last meal request included a variety of fruit, cranberry juice and coffee.
According to the Huffington Post, the other inmates in the prison acknowledged Hooper’s final moments by banging on their cell doors.
From the Huffington Post article:
“I just want to thank God for such an exuberant send-off,” Hooper said. “Also, my family for standing by me throughout all this. I appreciate them being there for me through the hardships…I ask that my spirit be released directly into the hands of Jesus. I’m ready to go.”
“I love you all,” he said, then deeply exhaled and closed his eyes.
The victim’s family issued a statement, offering their condolences to Hooper’s family members.
“This has been a long, arduous journey for all of the families,” the statement said.