10 Horribly BOTCHED Executions
When you’re on death row, it must be frequent that you think about how your last moments will go. Will you be able to say something profound so you’re remembered forever, or will you just go in silence, taking with you the sins that got you where you are. For these death row inmates, their final moments were likely not how they pictured them. Be it a malfunction in the equipment or an incorrect dosage of a lethal cocktail, these ten deaths were met with some serious kinks, giving us the Top 10 botched executions.
It’s not unheard of for the rope to snap during execution by hanging, plummeting the convicted’s body to the ground below; but it may be a little more rare for the individual’s body to sever completely from their head. In the case of outlaw Tom Ketchum, or Black Jack, this is precisely what happened. The executioner in charge of the hanging had apparently miscalculated the length of the drop needed to snap Ketchum’s neck, allowing 7 feet between the platform and the ground. When Black Jack was released, his body fell the full 7 feet, the momentum of the drop and the sudden snap of the rope decapitating him completely. Spectators were privy to a bloody show as his headless body spurted blood continuously. Ketchum’s head was then sewn back on for a proper funeral.
29-year-old Sandra Lee Long received her justice when, on November 4th, 2005, her rapist and murderer Brian David Steckel was injected with a deadly dose during his execution. Lethal injection starts with a sedative drug so the inmate doesn’t feel the fiery effects of the potassium chloride as it is injected into their veins, but Steckel’s execution was done without the sedative. After the injection machine malfunctioned and switched to a working one, Steckel was still neglected to receive the paralytic and sedative. As Steckel was not paralyzed or sedated prior to the chloride being administered, his body started to convulse, likely a reaction to the extreme pain he felt as the chloride coursed through his veins. While Steckel waited the 12 minutes for the procedure to be completed, he spoke very apologetically to his witnesses the entire time.
Jimmy Lee Gray
The grotesque and seriously depraved acts of Jimmy Lee Gray landed him in a Mississippi gas chamber in 1983. Rightfully so, Gray paid for his crimes, but his execution was far from clean. Despite regulations required as such, Gray’s head was not strapped to the vertical metal bar behind his chair, so when the gas started to leak into the room, Gray thrashed about. His head slammed into the restraining bar repeatedly and he emitted eleven moans before finally losing consciousness. The scene was gruesome enough for the room to be cleared before Gray could fully succumb to the gasses he was breathing in.
Lady Margaret Pole
The countess of Salisbury was once an ally in the eyes of King Henry VIII, until her son, Reginald Pole, published Pro ecclesiasticae unitatis defensione, a document that very brazenly spoke out against the King. For her son’s words, Margaret Pole and her family would be sentenced to death. Though the countess was in her late 60s, an age considered “old” for the time, she was imprisoned as a traitor until her scheduled execution. Two different accounts of her execution are told, both telling of a beheading that didn’t go so well. The first count tells of an axeman who was still green in his trade. He struck her eleven times, once in the shoulder, before he was able to finally behead her. The second account, the blame is on Margaret, who was said to have tried to run from her fait. Regardless, it was a messy execution that took longer than it should have.
The death of 19-year-old Stephanie Neiman in 1999 was what put Lockett in prison and made him a member of Oklahoma’s death row. During his execution, done via lethal injection, Lockett survived 16 pricks and 43 minutes after the first dose of the execution drug was administered and those minutes were filled with panic and anxiety from the administering doctors and unnerving moans and groans from the inmate. After convulsions post-administration of the drug, it was determined that Lockett’s artery was hit rather than a vein. Blood dripped from Lockett, causing a bloody mess. Lockett started to moan as his head jerked, leaving witnesses to assume the drug wasn’t working as Lockett seemed to try to talk. At 6:56pm, the execution was officially called off, allowing Lockett to slowly die.
At the time of her execution in 1979, Ginggaew repeatedly claimed her innocence, but it was to no avail. Her involvement in the death of a young boy, despite the truth behind the situation, had doomed her, and on January 13th in Thailand, her sentence was carried out. Ginggaew was strapped up to a cross, a white screen rolled in front of her to indicate the position of her heart. The gunman stepped into place, Ginggaew still struggling against her restraints. Ten shots were fired into her body and, as expected, she was confirmed dead. During the execution of one of her accomplices, Gasem Singhara, Ginggaew started to show signs of life in the morgue, despite the doctor’s indication that she had no pulse or retina activity. Despite blood profusely flowing from the holes in her chest form the shots, Ginggaew survived, and it was’t until she was strapped back to the cross and shot another 15 times did she finally die. Ginggaew’s blood was everywhere, a nauseating sight for anyone, but mostly for the guards that had to handle her still living body.
Broom is what many would consider the worst kind of criminal, having been convicted of raping and killing a 14-year-old girl, so there’s likely to be no sympathy for this botched execution. Making matters worse is the fact that Broom’s execution was never actually completed, which was first administered in September of 2009. The process of Broom’s lethal injection proved to be agonizing for the inmate as those administering the needle had difficulties finding a vein that would not collapse. Several attempts were made to find a vein, most met with Broom screaming out in extreme pain. At different points, Broom claims the needle struck a bone in his foot and a muscle. Broom’s execution was halted and, as of May 2015, he still sits on death row, waiting to pay for his heinous crime.
Lethal injection was the method used on this Puerto Rican death row inmate who faced execution after being convicted in the shooting of a strip club manager in 1979. This seemingly painless method of execution is supposed to only last approximately 7.5 minutes, but something delayed Angel’s death an extra 43 minutes. Initially, a liver condition was cited for the prolonged death, but it was later revealed that the administering needle pierced through the vein, allowing the drugs to enter into Angel’s tissue rather than his blood stream. Angel’s body was being slowly poisoned as the drug cycled through his tissue until enough of it finally reached his organs. It is believed that Diaz felt no pain through the process, though his family still considers it a botched execution.
After being convicted of murdering fellow housemate and lover, the refined Alice Martin, George Painter was sentenced to death in June of 1892. The proposed method of execution was hanging, and at 7:45am on January 26th, 1894, the act was carried out. With the noose tied tight around his neck, the trap door released beneath Painter, plummeting him to the ground below. Before he could be killed by strangulation, the rope snapped and Painter’s body fell to the floor. Though Painter’s neck was broken and blood poured from a wound on his head, the inmate was still alive and his body was prepped for another drop through the trap door. This time, the rope remained in tact and Painter was left to hang in front of spectators for 4 minutes before his lifeless body was cut down, his blood soaked gown causing a general queasiness over the crowd.
John Louis Evans III
The execution of John Louis Evans didn’t bode well for capital punishment supoorters. The robber turned murderer was the first execution in the state of Alabama since the restitution of the death penalty in 1976. Seven years after reintroducing capital punishment, Evans’ execution proved to be a prime example cited by opposers after the inmate died in what is considered a rather torturous manner. Evans was strapped to the electric chair nicknamed Yellow Mama, which was well over 50 years old and had been out of commission since 1965. The execution of Evans took fourteen minutes and three separate jarring jolts from the device. Between 8:30 and 8:44pm, the inmate charred from each jolt, the stench of his burning flesh and clothing nauseating surveyors. Despite pleas from Evans’ attorney for clemency due to the lengthy and painful electrocution, the switch was flipped a third time, finally killing Evans, who’s fist had been permanently clenched since the first jolt of 1,900 volts.