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President Obama (R) addresses the media with German President Angela Merkel in the Rose Garden at the White House on May 2, 2014 in Washington, DC. / Alex Wong Getty Images

WASHINGTON - President Obama called this week's botched execution in Oklahoma "deeply troubling" and said it should spur a larger conversation on the death penalty in the USA.

Clayton Lockett, 38, struggled violently, groaned and writhed after lethal drugs were administered by Oklahoma officials Tuesday night, according to eyewitness accounts.

State Corrections Director Robert Patton halted the execution, citing vein failure that may have prevented the deadly chemicals from reaching Lockett. He eventually died of a heart attack.

"What happened in Oklahoma was deeply troubling," said Obama, who made his first comments on the incident at a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday.

Obama reaffirmed his long-held view that there are certain crimes that are so heinous that the death penalty is an appropriate punishment. He reiterated his concerns that in the application of the death penalty in the United States there has been evidence of racial bias. He also noted his dismay at the number of incidents where men and women have been sentenced to death only later to be found innocent.

"The situation in Oklahoma I think just highlights some of significant problems there," Obama said. "I'll be discussing with (Attorney General Eric) Holder and others to get me an analysis of what steps have been taken, not just in this particular instance but more broadly in this area."

He added, "I think we do have to as a society ask ourselves some difficult and profound questions around these issues."



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Obama calls botched Okla. execution 'deeply troubling'

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