Death Penalty: “When I go, I want to go quickly.”

Phil Riske, senior writer/reporter

“I am concerned by the length of time it took for the administered drug protocol to complete the lawful execution of the convicted double murderer, Joseph Wood, “said Governor Jan Brewer nine years go. “While justice was carried out today, I directed the Department of Corrections [DOC] to conduct a full review of the process.”

Here we are almost a decade later and DOC says it’s ready to carry out the death penalty, but Attorney General Kris Mayes is saying hold your horses.

While the death penalty debate continues unresolved in Arizona, I’m again reminded of my view in 2014 when I wrote the following:

You’ve probably heard someone say at one time or another, “When I go, I want to go quickly.”

When I learned a lawmaker in my home state of Wyoming had proposed returning to the days when executions were carried out by firing squad, I thought how barbaric, how regressive can you get? And now I see where the chief judge of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has a suggestion to prevent legal challenges to lethal injection as a method of execution: Bring back firing squads.

He’s got me rethinking the issue.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday turned down the appeal of Arizona inmate James Wood who was overdue in the death chamber. His lawyers based the appeal on the ongoing debate over the efficacy of lethal injection drugs.

Arizona went right to work Wednesday and quickly executed him within hours of the court’s decision.

Well, sort of quickly.

It took two hours before he died, officials said.

Then-Gov. Brewer went on to say Wood didn’t suffer.

Wood would be the only judge of that.

He might have preferred a bullet.

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August 2023