Sunday, June 17, 2007

May 24, 2007

...The actually time of death was 11 hours after the savage beating began, or 660 minutes, at least 41 times as long as Newton's sixteen minutes...

Last Meal: Newton had a final meal request of steak, asparagus, brussels sprouts, feta cheese, a soft drink, cake and watermelon.

The skinny: Newton was executed for the murder of his prison cellmate.

More skinny: Newton was imprisoned for burglary. After telling officials he had been threatened, was placed in a cell with a new cellmate.

The two men got into an argument over a game of chess when Newton (who weighted 100 pounds more than the victim) attacked the man and began hitting him in the face. He then tied a piece of rope around his neck and stuck a gag down his throat. When Newton realized that the man was still alive, he cut a piece of cloth and strangled him with it.

Newton wrote out a detailed confession to the murder, and claimed to have drunk his blood following the murder.

Newton, who had a history of mental-health problems, said he was mad because the man kept giving up before the chess game was over.

Newton pled guilty to the charges, and waived appeals.

Last words and such: After Newton, 37, was finally wheeled into the death chamber at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility, his last words were: "I sure could use a beef stew and a chicken bone," which was apparently a message to friends on Death Row.

Newton's public-defender attorney, later read a statement from his client in which Newton apologized to Brewer's family and said, "If I could take it back, I would."

The execution of Newton took nearly two hours, longer than any since Ohio reinstated the death penalty in 1999. Here is a timeline of the procedure, which begins with a shunt being placed in each of the inmate's arms, compiled from the prison log and a reporter's observations from the witness viewing area.

10:03 a.m.: Execution team visible on witness-area TV screen beginning work on Newton.

10:10 a.m.: After unsuccessfully trying insertion points on both arms, technicians begin exploring the upper and lower portions of Newton's arms, inner and outer elbows, wrists, and hands, as well as his right leg, tapping and massaging in their attempts to find spots to insert the shunts. He was stuck with needles at least 10 times.

10:27 a.m.: IV is inserted in left arm. Medical staff continues working on right arm.

10:56 a.m.: In the viewing chamber, where witnesses are discouraged from talking, prisons spokeswoman Andrea Dean holds up a note to reporters: "We have told the team to take their time. His size is creating a problem. (Newton was 6 feet, 265 lbs)" (Note: Ohio had a problem with lethal injection in 2006 after a condemned man's vein collapsed and he woke up telling his executioners the drugs were not working. After finding another vein, that execution was completed.)

10:58 a.m.: Medical team exits chamber for two minutes.

11:03 a.m.: Preparations reach the one-hour mark.

11:05 a.m.: Newton is given a two-minute bathroom break.

11:28 a.m.: IV inserted in right arm.

11:33 a.m.: Newton walks from the medical chamber into the death chamber. He is visible to witnesses through a glass partition.

11:36 a.m.: Strapped to the gurney with lines now attached, Newton delivers his final statement into a microphone. He talks and laughs with two attending officials, inaudible to witnesses, for another three minutes.

11:37 a.m.: Signal given for chemicals to begin flowing.

11:39 a.m.: Newton's eyes close.

11:40 a.m.: Newton's belly begins to heave, his chin and face shudder and twitch, and his body twice mildly convulses on the table within his restraints.

11:45 a.m.: Movements stop.

11:51 a.m.: Curtain between witnesses and death chamber is pulled for coroner examination.

11:53 a.m.: Newton declared dead.

Factoids: Newton was the...

21st murderer executed in U.S. in 2007
1078th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
2nd murderer executed in Ohio in 2007
26th murderer executed in Ohio since 1976

A little perspective... (From the Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal "Best of the Web" daily column

Hurry Up and Die

"Ohio Inmate Took Twice as Long to Die," according to an Associated Press headline. Twice as long as his victim? No, that's not what they mean:

The 16 minutes it took Christopher Newton to die once chemicals began flowing into his veins was the longest stretch that any of the state's inmates executed since 1999 has endured, an Associated Press review shows.

During that span Thursday--more than twice as long as usual, and 5 minutes longer than the state's previous longest on record--Newton's stomach heaved, his chin quivered and twitched, and his 6-foot, 265-pound body twice mildly convulsed within the restraints. . . .

"It seems too long," Ohio State University surgeon Jonathan Groner said. "The whole thing seems agonizing."

This is all the story has to say about his victim:

Newton had insisted on the death penalty as punishment for choking and beating the victim, 27, his cellmate at the Mansfield Correctional Center, over a chess game in 2001.

OK, but how long did the victim take to die? We finally found a rough estimate in a January 2006 AP dispatch:

The man died a few hours after the attack at Ohio State University Medical Center. Newton told authorities he made a rope and later cut a strip from his prison jumpsuit to strangle the victim when the rope broke. He also stomped on the man's head, throat and chest.

Presumably "a few hours" means at least three, so that the victim took at least 164 minutes longer than Newton to die, or at least 11 times as long.

DME NOTE: The actually time of death was 11 hours after the savage beating began, or 660 minutes, at least 41 times as long as Newton's sixteen minutes.

You'd think the criminal-coddling crowd would have some sympathy for the victim in this case, since he was a fellow felon, but he was only in for attempted burglary, which we suppose means his life wasn't as valuable as a murderer's.

More on those "few" hours: MANCI nurse Diane Burson testified that when she responded to cell 115, the man was not breathing and had no pulse. Burson and responding paramedics worked diligently, and eventually the victim's heart began to beat. Ditmars testified that while medical personnel were trying to save the man's life, Newton was laughing and yelling, “ ‘Let him die. I killed him.’ ” According to Douglas, Newton said, “ ‘[F]uck that bitch [the victim]. You might as well not even work on him. He is already dead.’ ” Nurse Butcher recalls Newton periodically shouting to the paramedics, “ ‘Stop, let the fucker die.’ ” State Highway Patrol Trooper Doug Hamman described Newton as singing, “‘[T]here is nothing like the taste of fresh blood in the morning.’”

After paramedics established a heartbeat, the man was taken to MedCentral Hospital, then flown to the Ohio State University Medical Center, where he was declared brain dead around 2:30 p.m. After an autopsy, Dr. Dorothy Dean, a forensic pathologist, concluded that he had died from a ligature strangulation. The victim also suffered other injuries to his head and body consistent with his having been kicked or stomped on.

After the assault, Newton told Lieutenant Hilbert Mealey, a MANCI CO, that he had allowed the man to lie for an hour in the cell because Newton knew that paramedics would try to save his life. Newton told Mealey that he had more fun in prison than on the outside. MANCI Lieutenant Joe Albert recalled that Newton had seemed very happy and had repeatedly asked, “ ‘Did I kill him? Is he dead?’ ” Newton also said, “[I]f he is not dead, I hope he is going to be a vegetable.”

Sixteen minutes, huh?