Jack Sullivan, 23, convicted of killing a railroad policeman, smiles and smokes a cigar as he is prepared for the gas chamber at the Arizona State Penitentiary in Florence in 1936. When asked if he had a final request, he reportedly said, "You might get me a gas mask."
Joseph Wood III was declared fully sedated ay 1:57 p.m. in the death chamber in Florence. But because of incompetence or a bad execution drug cocktail, he wasn't pronounced dead until 3:49 p.m.
This event has brought more of the kind of national news coverage to Arizona that can only enhance its reputation as a cruel and hapless place to the talented, compassionate and those who make decisions about where to deploy capital. A sampling is here. Even John McCain, who would know, called it "torture."
On the other hand, probably a majority of Arizonans would share the comment of someone from Phoenix on Facebook: "I saw nothing wrong with it...he did NOT suffer...just slept longer." When challenged, he added, "I hope the bastard rots in hell!!!" According to the Pew Research Center, 55 percent of Americans favored the death penalty in 2013, down from a high of 78 percent in the 1980s.
Wood was convicted in 1991 for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Debra Dietz and her father, Eugene. He also pointed the gun at police, who shot him.