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Execution was torture: Arizona's McCain

TUCSON, Arizona--U.S. Sen. John McCain says he believes the execution of an Arizona inmate that lasted two hours was torture.

The Republican who represents the conservative state told Politico that he supports capital punishment for certain crimes but felt Wednesday's execution of Joseph Rudolph Wood was a “bollocks-upped situation.”

The execution brought new attention to the death penalty debate in the U.S. as opponents said it was proof that lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment.

Arizona lawmakers, however, say the debate is not likely to have an impact on practices in the state.

It took Wood nearly two hours to die after he received a lethal injection with a combination of the sedative midazolam and the painkiller hydromorphone.

He spent more than 90 minutes gasping for air every five to 12 seconds before he finally stopped breathing.

Arizona has suspended executions while an investigation is conducted.

In the interview with Politico published Thursday, McCain said people responsible should be held accountable in the execution of Wood.

“The lethal injection needs to be an indeed lethal injection and not the bollocks-upped situation that just prevailed. That's torture,” the senator said.

Calls by The Associated Press seeking comment from McCain were not immediately returned on Friday.

Wood's attorneys said the execution should have taken 10 minutes, and they called it a “horrifically botched execution.”

Department of Corrections Director Charles Ryan has dismissed the contention that the execution was botched, calling it an “erroneous conclusion” and “pure conjecture.”

Republican Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin said he supports a review of the Wood execution but it's not likely that state legislators will change their minds about the death penalty. Republicans control both chambers of the Arizona Legislature.

“Well I think they're not going to be receptive to abolish it, no, but if there's some methods that the Democrats want to offer that say, here's a better way to go about this, we will consider that. But I don't think there's a real chance that there's going to be an elimination of the death penalty,” Tobin said.

Tobin is campaigning around the state in his bid for a U.S. Congress seat.

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