TODAY   |  May 01, 2014

Governor wants independent review after execution

A botched execution in Oklahoma is reigniting a national debate over the death penalty. The state’s governor speaks out about the incident. NBC’s Janet Shamlian reports.

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>>> we're learning this morning about a botched execution in oklahoma that is re-igniting the national debate over the death penalty . nbc's janet schamlian has the latest.

>> reporter: in the wake of the botched execution of clayton lockett, oklahoma 's governor is calling for an independent review of how the state handles executions.

>> the state needs to be certain of its protocols and its procedures for executions and that they work.

>> reporter: still, she defended the death penalty for lockett convicted of murdering a 19-year-old in 1999 . tuesday night lockett was struggling and witnesses say it was horrifying. oklahoman reporters were there.

>> once he started speaking and moving a little bit more forcefully, it was apparent that things weren't going according to plan.

>> reporter: officials stopped the execution but said lockett suffered a massive heart attack and died 43 minutes after it started. a second execution has been stayed until the oklahoma review is completed. on wednesday the white house weighed in saying the execution wasn't donahue mainly. the incident ramping up the already heated debate over lethal injection .

>> it is cruel. it is inhumane. it's certainly not up to our standards of decency in this country.

>> reporter: while officials blamed a ruptured vein for the botched procedure, it was the first time in oklahoma this cocktail of drugs had been used. oklahoma and the 31 other death penalty states are struggling to find lethal injection drugs after suppliers said they no long wanted any part of capital punishment . they refused to offer details ahead of time about the chemicals used. for "today," janet schamlian, nbc news, houston.