COMMENTS: Feeling No Pain

The last time the Supreme Court prevented an execution from proceeding in October, both ABC's Jan Crawford Greenburg (no link) and NBC's Pete Williams covered the decision as an informal ban on death by injection until the Justices decide in the spring whether the punishment is cruel and unusual. Now Wyatt Andrews plays catch-up on CBS as another stay "continues an unannounced moratorium." Andrews explained the killing apparatus as a triple procedure, first a barbiturate sedative, then a drug to induce paralysis, then "potassium chloride, the killing drug, causes a heart attack." Sometimes, he reported, "inmates are not properly sedated and can feel the intense pain of the heart attack but cannot speak because they are paralyzed." He quoted Gainesville Sun reporter Nathan Crabbe's account of witnessing 30 minutes of an imate's suffering after a botched injection: "His head was shaking back and forth. He was squinting his eyes like as if he was experiencing pain. It looked like he was gasping for air." Andrews quoted the counter argument: there is "very little evidence" of botched injections and anyway "the Constitution does not guarantee a painfree execution."


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