Clayton Lockett died on Tuesday, April 29, 2014. He died in a botched execution by the State of Oklahoma.
The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty reports that “witnesses say he writhed and twitched in agony throughout the execution.” A second execution scheduled for later that evening, has been postponed for fourteen days.
Lockett was sentenced to death for the murder of Stephanie Neiman. The incident that lead to her death was exceptionally brutal. It involved sexual assault and assault on Neiman and on Summer Bradshaw and Bobby Lee Bornt, according to a report in the Washington Post. While Neiman’s murder carried the death penalty, Lockett was convicted of a number of crimes committed that night.
There can be no justification, no excuses, no rationales for these actions, these crimes.
I grieve for Stephanie, Summer, Bobby Lee, and those who loved and love them. The violence which ended Stephanie’s live and violated Summer and Bobby Lee appalls me.
But I also grieve for Lockett. And his death appalls me even as his actions fill me with revulsion.
However, I believe, I do believe, I still believe, that dealing death for death is never the answer. It inappropriately raises us to the level of God as we decide who should live and who should die. And at the same time, it debases and degrades us to the level of those who resort to violence and destruction and death-dealing.
I opt for living in the tension. For seeking to find ways to protect society from those who kill without killing them. And for doing the hard, at times it seems futile, impossible, work of breaking the hold of anger, hate and violence on human hearts and preventing violence. It won’t come easy. But it is my choice.
The National Coalition Against the Death Penalty has a petition calling the leaders of Oklahoma to “halt all executions until an independent third-party can carry out an investigation with full transparency.”
I will sign because I believe an investigation is crucial both to understand what happened and why and to abolish the death penalty in Oklahoma and across the United States.
I will sign. I hope you do too.
See you along the Trail