Trending Topics

Okla. prison warden retiring amid execution probe

Warden who oversaw a botched execution in 2014 and a second lethal injection this year in which an inmate was given the wrong drugs is retiring


In this Oct. 20, 2015 file photo, Anita Trammell, warden at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary, leaves the office of the Oklahoma attorney general in Oklahoma City. (AP Image)

By Sean Murphy
Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma prison warden who oversaw a botched execution in 2014 and a second lethal injection this year in which an inmate was given the wrong drugs is retiring, prison officials announced Thursday.

Oklahoma State Penitentiary Warden Anita Trammell will no longer report to work and will use accrued leave until her retirement date of March 1, the Department of Corrections said in a statement.

“Beginning her career as a case manager and working all the way up to warden of the state’s largest maximum security facility is a true testament to her leadership ability and dedication to the state of Oklahoma,” Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton said in a statement.

Corrections spokeswoman Terri Watkins said Trammell was not asked to step down and that her retirement was not connected to Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s ongoing investigation into how the wrong drugs were delivered to the prison for the last two scheduled executions.

A telephone message left at a listing for Trammell in McAlester wasn’t immediately returned.

Trammell was inside the execution chamber in April 2014 when a botched lethal injection left inmate Clayton Lockett writhing on the gurney and mumbling in an execution that lasted for 43 minutes. Prison officials lowered the blinds during that execution after a physician member of the execution team noticed problems with the injection site in Lockett’s groin. Trammell later described the scene as a “bloody mess” to investigators, who faulted her for ordering that the insertion point be covered up.

Both Patton and Trammell appeared last week before a multicounty grand jury that is investigating how the wrong drug was delivered to the penitentiary for the last two scheduled lethal injections.

Richard Glossip was just hours away from his scheduled execution last month when prison officials realized they received potassium acetate, not potassium chloride, which is the third of three drugs the state uses to execute people. After Glossip’s execution was put on hold, an autopsy report from Charles Warner’s January execution revealed he was administered potassium acetate instead of potassium chloride.

That prompted Pruitt to ask the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to issue an indefinite stay of all scheduled executions “until my office knows more about these circumstances and gains confidence that (the Department of Corrections) can carry out executions in accordance with the execution protocol.”

Pruitt said he won’t request any execution dates until at least 150 days after his investigation is complete, the results are made public and his office receives notice that the prisons agency can comply with the state’s execution protocol.

A 33-year veteran of the Corrections Department, Trammell was appointed warden of the State Penitentiary in February 2013, becoming the first female warden in Oklahoma to oversee a men’s maximum-security prison.

Deputy Warden Maurice Warrior will oversee the prison’s day-to-day operations until Patton appoints an interim warden.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press