Exclusive: FOX 10 speaks with DOC director about Wood execution - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Exclusive: FOX 10 speaks with DOC director about Wood execution

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PHOENIX (KSAZ) - The two-hour execution of killer Joseph Wood ignited a death penalty debate across the country. For the first time, we got an inside look at the decisions made just outside the death chamber.

FOX 10 spoke with the Department of Corrections Director Charles Ryan, who told us about that day. Including his call to give Wood 15 different lethal doses of drugs, and his efforts to find out what exactly happened.

"We carried out a lawful execution," said Ryan.

It was an execution that made world-wide news. As killer Joe Wood took two hours to die, many witnesses described the scene as disturbing.

"It's not about the witnesses; it's about carrying out a lawful execution of a convicted murderer who was sentenced to death," he said.

For the first time FOX 10 learned that Ryan authorized 15 different injections, spaced out over time to finally lead to Wood's death. It also came out that Ryan was communicating with Gov. Brewer from the death house.

"I had a conversation with the assistant attorney general, I also had a conversation with the Governor, and my advice was sought, and I indicated to them both that we should continue the execution, and we did... I based that on the fact that we had additional chemicals, and the I.V. team leader assured me that the inmate was experiencing no pain" said Ryan.

Wood's defense attorney alleges that the state was experimenting. Ryan refutes that; "We are not experimenting... this was the first time that we used these chemicals, and we had sufficient quantities to assure death," said Ryan.

FOX 10 asked Ryan, why no alternatives like a firing squad. "Our responsibility is to ensure we carry out a lawful execution, and do it in a humane manner," he said.

Director Ryan has called for an external review into the Wood execution. He says that review is expected to take 90 days to complete.

FOX 10 asked Director Ryan if other methods of execution might be explored in that review including firing squads; he told FOX 10 yes. But the Department of Corrections later clarified that statement by saying that any change in execution methods would have to be part of a larger debate involving the legislature and the public.

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