US executions: Oklahoma unveils $71,000 renovated death chamber

Oklahoma State Penitentiary officials have unveiled the remodelled chamber

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The Independent US

The prison in Oklahoma which hit the headlines earlier this year when an execution went wrong has renovated its death chamber at a cost of $71,000 (£44,000).

Officials at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary unveiled the renovated execution chamber on Thursday.

The renovation has given executioners more space in which to operate, while $34,000 has been spent on new medical equipment, including $12,500 for a surgical table.

Prison workers were also this week due to begin training on new protocols and backup procedures in case a lethal injection goes wrong.

The renovation and new protocols were ordered by Department of Corrections Director Robbert Patton following the botched execution of Clayton Lockett in April.

Lockett writhed on the gurney, mumbled and tried to lift his head before his execution was eventually called off.

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The execution chamber at Oklahoma State Penitentiary, pictured in 2008 (AP)

He died of a heart attack 43 minutes later, after the lethal injection caused him to convulse and a vein to burst.

Lockett had been convicted of shooting Stephanie Nieman, 19, with a sawed-off shotgun and watching as two accomplices buried her alive in 1999.

An investigation blamed Lockett's lengthy execution on the poor placement of a single intravenous line that was not monitored throughout the procedure.

As a result, some of the lethal drugs were injected into Lockett's tissue instead of directly into his blood stream, the report found.

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The renovation and new protocols were ordered by Department of Corrections Director Robbert Patton following the execution of Clayton Lockett in April

Following recommendations in the report, the space has now been renovated to give the execution team in an adjacent “chemical room” more space to operate. New lighting and video equipment has also been installed.

The changes mean the number of media witnesses will be reduced from 12 to five.

The state's next scheduled execution is due to take place later this year.

Charles Warner, who was convicted of raping and killing his roommate's 11-month-old daughter in Oklahoma City in 1997, has been scheduled to be executed on November 13.

Additional reporting by Associated Press