Family sues head of Ohio's prisons for incorrect execution

The mother of a condemned who told an execution team "It don't work" while they struggled for more than an hour to inject him with lethal drugs sued the head of Ohio's prisons on Monday.

It took almost 90 minutes to carry out the execution of Joseph Clark in May 2006. The lawsuit in federal court, filed by Clark's mother, Irma Clark, says the execution amounted to cruel and unusual punishment.

In a separate lawsuit, 15 inmates are challenging the state's lethal injection process, arguing the procedure may cause prisoners to suffer during an execution.

Prison staff had problems finding a useable vein on Clark, and one vein they did use collapsed. The execution team also apparently tried to administer the lethal drugs through the original IV line by mistake, according to written accounts of the execution.

During the first injection attempt, the 57-year-old Clark finally pushed himself up and said, "It don't work."

During the second attempt at finding a vein, the convicted murderer asked, "Can you just give me something by mouth to end this?"

Clark, 57, was sentenced to die for killing gas station attendant David Manning in Toledo. Clark went on a nine-day spree of robberies in January 1984 to get money for drugs.

On Monday, Manning's brother, Michael Manning stood side by side with Clark's family, asking the state to change the way it conducts death sentences.

"Nobody should have to die a horrible death," he said.

The problems led the state to change its lethal injection process.

But in May, an execution team again struggled to find veins in an inmate's arm. Christopher Newton died nearly two hours after the scheduled start of his execution.

Prisons spokeswoman Andrea Dean said she could not comment about the lawsuit. She did say that she did not know if Clark's moans and groans were caused by pain.

"He didn't appear to be in any physical distress," she said.