Calling a botched state killing in Oklahoma "deeply troubling," President Barack Obama said Friday the federal government would review death penalty procedures around the country.
Obama said he's asked Attorney General Eric Holder to conduct an analysis of how death row criminals are killed after an execution attempt in Oklahoma left an accused murderer writhing and convulsing following a lethal injection.
"I think we do have to, as a society, ask ourselves some difficult and profound questions around these issues," Obama said during a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, while reaffirming his belief the death penalty is an appropriate punishment for certain crimes.
On Tuesday, Oklahoma officials said the planned execution of convicted murder and rapist Clayton Lockett went awry several minutes after he was administered the first of three drugs in the lethal injection cocktail.
Witnesses report Lockett uttered the words "Man," "I'm not," and "something's wrong" before blinds separating media and the execution chamber were lowered.
A reporter said Lockett still appeared to be alive when the partition was lowered, making it impossible for witnesses to view the remainder of the procedure.
Lockett eventually died of a heart attack, officials said.
During his press conference Friday, which focused largely on the situation in Ukraine, Obama pointed to other "significant" flaws in the country's execution system.
"Racial bias. Uneven application of the death penalty. Situations in which there were individuals on death row who later on were discovered to have been innocent because of exculpatory evidence -- all these I think do raise significant questions about how the death penalty is being applied," he said.