- Associated Press - Friday, December 4, 2015

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The latest on Oklahoma’s prisons director resigning (all times local):

5:15 p.m.

While Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin says she appreciates the contributions of outgoing Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton, she had declined two months ago to say whether she had confidence in him.

Patton announced Friday he will resign effective Jan. 31 to be closer to his family and that he will begin taking accrued leave Dec. 25. His resignation was announced as Attorney General Scott Pruitt leads a grand jury investigation into a series of botched executions in the state.

Fallin said Friday that she regrets his departure but understands the importance of family and the need to be close to loved ones.

On Oct. 8, Fallin declined to publicly endorse Patton even after he was given a vote of confidence by the Board of Corrections. Fallin said then that she would wait until Attorney General Scott Pruitt completed his investigation.

A spokesman for Pruitt’s office, Aaron Cooper, declined to comment in Patton’s resignation.

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4:55 p.m.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin says she appreciates the contribution that outgoing Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton has made to the state’s prison system.

Patton announced Friday he will resign effective Jan. 31 and will begin taking accrued leave on Dec. 25. His resignation was announced as Attorney General Scott Pruitt leads a grand jury investigation into a series of botched executions in the state.

Fallin says Patton has worked to keep state prisons safe for correctional officers and inmates and worked to make DOC’s internal operations more efficient and effective. Fallin says she regrets his departure but understands the importance of family and the need to be close to loved ones.

A spokesman for Pruitt’s office, Aaron Cooper, declined to comment in Patton’s resignation.

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4:35 p.m.

The director of Oklahoma’s prison system is the second high-ranking official to step down amid an investigation into a series of botched executions in the state.

Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton announced Friday he will resign effective Jan. 31 and will begin taking accrued leave on Dec. 25.

In October, the department announced that Oklahoma State Penitentiary Warden Anita Trammell would no longer report to work and would use accrued leave until her retirement date of March 1.

Trammell was inside the state’s execution chamber in April 2014 when a botched lethal injection left inmate Clayton Lockett writhing on the gurney and mumbling. His execution lasted for 43 minutes.

The state’s investigation, led by Attorney General Scott Pruitt, began in October.

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4:20 p.m.

The director of Oklahoma’s prison system who presided over two botched lethal injections is resigning amid an investigation into what went wrong with the executions.

Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton announced Friday that he will resign effective Jan. 31. He will begin taking accrued leave on Dec. 25.

Patton said in a news release he had accepted a position in Arizona to be closer to his family.

In October, Patton appeared before a multicounty grand jury that is investigating how the wrong lethal injection drugs were used during an execution in January. The same wrong drugs were delivered to the prison just hours before an execution was to be carried out in September.

Patton had been on the job a few months when execution of Clayton Lockett was botched in April 2014.

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This story has been corrected to show that Patton appeared before the grand jury in October, not in November.

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