Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Condemned Man's Final Words: "Boomer Sooner"

The 44th Execution of 2010

Jeffrey Landrigan was executed in Arizona last night. Landrigan's execution at the Arizona State Prison Complex in Florence moved relatively quickly after the U.S. Supreme Court lifted a temporary restraining order that had been imposed Monday by a U.S. District Court judge in Phoenix and affirmed by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, according to the Arizona Republic.

The court imposed the order as it tried to force Arizona to disclose where and how it had obtained its supply of sodium thiopental, one of three drugs used in Arizona executions. Attorneys had been battling for days over the issue.

The high court, in a terse one-page order issued after 7 p.m. last night, agreed by a 5-4 decision with Arizona prosecutors that there was no reason to force disclosure.

"There was no showing that the drug was unlawfully obtained, nor was there an offer of proof to that effect," the court order said.

Justices Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and John Roberts were in the majority, lifting the stay.

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented, voting to keep the stay in place.

Within a matter of hours Landrigan was moved into the death chamber. According to the Republic, he looked quizzically at roughly 27 people gathered to witness the execution. He smiled to friends and family, his lip curling slightly under his reddish mustache.

Landrigan was a native of Oklahoma. The University of Oklahoma Sooners have a storied football program. The last 12 years under head coach Bob Stoops have been truly special for any Sooner fan. Apparently, Landrigan is no exception.

When asked for any last words, Landrigan said in a strong voice with a heavy Oklahoma accent: "Well, I'd like to say thank you to my family for being here and all my friends, and Boomer Sooner," a reference to the University of Oklahoma Sooners. Some would say football is god in Oklahoma, if so Landrigan made his final peace before departing this world.

After his pledge of support to OU, Landrigan looked around and smiled again. Then, as the first drug -- sodium thiopental -- took effect, he slowly closed his eyes. A medical technician entered to check that he was fully sedated. Then the execution continued.

Death was pronounced at 10:26 p.m., according to the Republic. Landrigan was 1,232nd person executed in the modern era of the death penalty.

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