By AP May 03, 2014 6:46 PM ET
Clayton Lockett, 38, was administered a new drug combination
A bungled execution in Oklahoma in which the condemned prisoner writhed and moaned as he received a lethal injection outraged death-penalty opponents, invited court challenges and attracted worldwide attention.
But the inmate's agony alone is highly unlikely to change minds about capital punishment in the most active U.S. death-penalty states, where lawmakers say there is little political will to move against lethal injections — and a single execution gone wrong won't change that.
Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian, a Republican lawmaker who pushed to have state Supreme Court justices impeached for briefly halting Tuesday's execution, was unsparing.
"I realize this may sound harsh," Christian said, "but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
5 states abolish death penalty
Surveys by Gallup indicate that support for the death penalty remains strong in the United States, though it has declined over the last 20 years, from 80 percent in favor of capital punishment in 1992 to 60 percent two years ago.
There are signs of a shift, primarily in the West and Northeast, after almost four decades in which no state legislatures voted to end executions.
Five states — New Jersey, New Mexico, Illinois, Connecticut and Maryland — have formally abolished the death penalty in the last seven years, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, which opposes capital punishment. New York's death penalty was abolished by a court, and several other states have placed executions on hold. An anti-death penalty bill in New Hampshire fell one vote short of passage.
'What has to happen is someone famous, someone that they admire, has to be falsely accused or has to be convicted, to where they say, `Oh my God, this has become an epidemic.' -Anthony Graves, formerly on death row