- The Washington Times - Friday, May 2, 2014

After the botched execution of an Oklahoma inmate earlier this week, President Obama said Friday it’s time for the U.S. to ask itself “difficult and profound questions” surrounding the death penalty.

At a press conference in the Rose Garden alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Mr. Obama ordered Attorney General Eric Holder to conduct an analysis of death penalty cases and procedures across the nation.

“I’ve said in the past there are certain circumstances in which a crime is so terrible that the application of the death penalty may be appropriate — mass killings, the killings of children. But I’ve also said that in the application of the death penalty in this country we have seen significant problems — racial bias, uneven application of the death penalty, situations in which there were individuals on death row who later were discovered to have been innocent,” the president said. “All of these, I think, do raise significant questions about how the death penalty is being applies, and this situation in Oklahoma just highlights the significant problems there. I’ll be discussing with Eric Holder and others to get me an analysis of what steps have been taken not just in this particular instance but more broadly in this area. I think we do have to, as a society, ask ourselves some difficult and profound questions.”

Convicted killer Clayton Lockett, 38, reportedly began to writhe in pain, clench his teeth and struggle to lift his head off of a pillow on Tuesday even after being dosed with drugs meant to render him unconscious.

The excruciating ordeal lasted for another 10 minutes, until Lockett died of an apparent heart attack.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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