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News Organizations Sue Oklahoma Over Execution

Oklahoma Department of Corrections
/
Oklahoma Watch

Two news organizations have filed a federal lawsuit accusing Oklahoma prison officials of violating the First Amendment by preventing reporters from viewing portions of a botched execution. 

Monday's lawsuit follows the April 29 death of inmate Clayton Lockett, who writhed, moaned and clenched his teeth before dying. Prison officials halted the execution after discovering a problem with an intravenous line. Lockett died of a heart attack about 10 minutes later.

Officials lowered a shade nearly 20 minutes after Lockett's execution started, blocking witnesses' view of the gurney. The Oklahoma Observer and the Guardian US are asking a federal judge to declare that the press be allowed to view an execution in its entirety.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections spokesman Jerry Massie declined to comment.

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