110 minute execution reignites drug controversy surrounding lethal injection

110 minute execution reignites drug controversy surrounding lethal injection

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Richard Brown is speaking out after the man who murdered his sister-in-law and her father was put to death in an execution that has attracted national attention.

"I saw the life go out of my sister-in-law's eyes right in front of me as he shot her to death. I'm so sick of you guys blowing this drug stuff out of proportion."

The American Civil Liberties Union is also reacting to the death of Joseph Wood, whose execution reportedly lasted nearly two hours, following an injection of a new combination of drugs.

"We really need more judicial oversight of this process because of these horrible examples like what happened yesterday in Arizona," says Victoria Middleton, the executive director of the ACLU of South Carolina.

Much of the controversy is over novel drug combinations after the sole U.S. manufacturer stopped producing the anesthetic, sodium thiopental, in 2011. European manufacturers of the same drug refuse to export it to the U.S. saying it was never meant to be used in executions.

In South Carolina, a trio of drugs was used, pentobarbital, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride, but the Department of Corrections says they do not have a supply of pentobarbital and pancuronium bromide. Officials say they have been monitoring the issue in other states closely and exploring alternative drug options.

The ACLU, which opposes capital punishment, agrees severe punishment is a necessity, but argue botched executions are cruel and inhumane.

"Since European Suppliers refused to cooperate with executions in America and declined to supply the drugs that were formally being used, what we now have is experimentation on prisoners," says Middleton.

In South Carolina, a person convicted of a capital crime can choose to be executed either by lethal injection or electrocution.

The last execution in the state was in 2011.