PHOENIX (NBC News) -- Critics are calling for a moratorium on executions after a condemned Arizona inmate gasped for breath for nearly two hours after a lethal injection Wednesday evening.
It was the third prolonged or botched execution this year using a new cocktail of execution drugs.
Witnesses say convicted double murderer Joseph Wood gasped for air 600 times or more in the hour and 57 minutes it took for him to die.
"His mouth would open then his chest would move. His stomach would convulse. It was like a piston," said Arizona Republic reporter Michael Kiefer. "It would just keep going and going and going and going."
The execution took so long that Wood's lawyers actually filed an appeal during the process, questioning the drugs used by executioners.
-- Jay Gray reports