There is a great deal of discussion today about the “botched execution” of convicted murderer Joseph Wood in Arizona last night.
The lethal injection should have killed Wood in 10 minutes took nearly two hours and left him struggling and grasping for breath. If the objective is to bring about death as quickly as possible then a cocktail of midazolam and hydromorphone sure isn’t the way to do it. Indeed, there were concerns raised about the use of this cocktail when Wood’s execution date was announced in May. These concerns were raised after the execution of Oklahoma death row inmate Clayton Lockett went awry last April. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has launched an investigation into Wood’s execution.
But let’s please not call Joseph Wood a victim as he has been described at Wikipedia. Under the list of “Deaths in 2014”, Wood is described as an “American murderer” and a “victim of botched exeuction.” Wood is no victim. He was lawfully arrested, convicted and now executed for the 1989 double homicide of his ex-girlfriend Debra Dietz and her father Eugene Dietz. Wood had a long history of physical violence towards Dietz during their five-year relationsip. When Dietz finally left him, Wood went to the Dietz family business where he killed her father by shooting him in the chest twice. When she tried to call for help, Wood grabbed her and put the gun to her chest. Dietz pleaded with Wood not to kill her. Wood replied, “I told you I was going to do it, I have to kill you.” He then killed her by shooting her in the chest twice.
Dietz’s sister, Jeanne Brown, put the whole matter into its proper perspective when she told the AP, “What I saw today with him being executed, it is nothing compared to what happened on August 7, 1989. What’s excruciating is seeing your father lying there in a pool of blood, seeing your sister lying in a pool of blood.”
Yes, if we are to have capital punishment then executions must be conducted properly. But Joseph Wood has received more sympathy in one day than Debra and Eugene Dietz have in 25 years. Surely there is something wrong with civilized society when such sentiments prevail.
UPDATE: I just looked at Wikipedia and see that Wood is now described as “subject of botched execution” rather than as a victim. I don’t know if this post had anything to do with it, but that’s much better.