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Sen. John McCain Calls Lengthy Execution In Arizona 'Torture'

Posted: July 25, 2014

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The Arizona senator said he believes in the death penalty, but that was not "an acceptable way of carrying it out."

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill. Susan Walsh

Sen. John McCain, a Republican from Arizona, says the execution of Joseph Rudolph Wood, which took nearly two hours, amounted to torture.

Politico reports:

"The longtime Republican lawmaker, who experienced years of torture while being held in captivity by the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam War, called the drawn-out lethal injection execution of Joseph Wood on Wednesday 'terrible.'

" 'I believe in the death penalty for certain crimes. But that is not an acceptable way of carrying it out. And people who were responsible should be held responsible,' he said in an interview. 'The lethal injection needs to be an indeed lethal injection and not the bollocks-upped situation that just prevailed. That's torture.' "

As Bill reported, there are different interpretations of what happened on Wednesday. Wood's lawyer said that he watched his client gasp and snort for more than an hour after a lethal mix of drugs was injected into his body.

Family members of Debra Dietz and her father, Eugene Dietz, who Wood shot to death, said his execution was "nothing."

Arizona's Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Zick told a judge that Wood's reported gasping was an involuntary reaction, and that Wood was "effectively brain-dead" when that happened.

Gov. Jan Brewer did not cast judgment on the process, but she ordered a full review of it, and any further executions in the state have been halted pending the result of that review.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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