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Death penalty opponents call for halt on all executions

(Oklahoma City) – Everyone agrees that Tuesday night’s execution of an Oklahoma death row inmate didn’t go as planned.

Now, Oklahoma Sen. Connie Johnson and Representative Seneca Scott are questioning the validity of the execution investigation ordered by Governor Mary Fallin Wednesday afternoon.

Governor Fallin called for an independent review of the state's execution protocol after the inmate, Clayton Lockett, grimaced for several minutes during his execution Tuesday.

The governor asked Department of Public Safety Commissioner Michael Thompson to lead the review.

Opponents say the person leading the investigation needs to be from out of state

Sen. Johnson held a news conference right after the governor’s announcement, along with representatives from the Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and the ACLU.

She talked about the back and forth with the courts and the pressure on judges from lawmakers to make a decision on the execution.

Johnson said, “That is some pressure that I am unfortunately concerned about. And then we have the governor, in my opinion who steps out of her lane to issue an executive order in an area where she has no jurisdiction.”

Johnson says the separation and balance of power is at stake in the State of Oklahoma.

“We’re planning to introduce a resolution number one that will call for a moratorium on the death penalty in Oklahoma, until such time as an independent thorough investigation can be conducted by an outside source.”

Senator Johnson’s brother was murdered in 1981.

“People from the street came to me and said, ‘Do you want us to take him out?’ At that point I said no because I did not feel that was the right thing to do.”

Representative Seneca Scott says he’ll introduce a proposal in the House as well.

Death penalty opponents, who spoke at the news conference, said they are also looking at the possibility of filing a federal class action lawsuit against the State of Oklahoma for what they claim is a violation of the 8th Amendment to the Constitution.

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