WASHINGTON — President Obama continues to support the death penalty, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday, although Carney said Tuesday’s botched execution in Oklahoma was inhumane.
“I haven’t discussed this particular report with the president,” Carney said of the attempted execution of Clayton Lockett, in which the execution began and was stopped following the administration of the lethal drugs, and Lockett’s death by a heart attack occurred shortly thereafter. “What I can tell you is that he has long said that while the evidence suggests that the death penalty does little to deter crime, he believes there are some crimes that are so heinous that the death penalty is merited. In this case, or these cases, the crimes are indisputably horrific and heinous.”
“But it’s also the case that we have a fundamental standard in this country that even when the death penalty is justified, it must be carried out humanely. And I think everyone would recognize that this case fell short of that standard,” Carney added.
A second planned execution in the state, of Charles Warner, was postponed.
Following up, Carney was asked whether the Justice Department would investigate the Oklahoma situation, to which he said he was “not aware of any such effort,” though he directed further questions to the Justice Department.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin is due to give a statement about the situation shortly.