Mike Watkiss: Witnessing execution a 'fascinating experience'

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PHOENIX -- Mike Watkiss was one of five members of the media to witness the execution Tuesday of convicted killer Eric John King.

While the execution was the source of controversy and court challenges, Arizona carried out its 23rd execution via lethal injection using a combination of three drugs. One more execution will be conducted with by this method before the state switches to a single-drug injection.

Watkiss said witnessing King's execution was a "fascinating experience," describing the process as "very well-orchestrated" and "clinical."

In his 30 years as a reporter, Watkiss has had previous opportunities to witness an execution, but he had always declined. This time, however, was different.

"I thought is was important to go do it," he said.

"As soon as they opened up the drapes, the first image you see, that man laying here with a sheet up to his neck, but he had a broad smile on his face, you could see his teeth," said 3TV's Mike Watkiss, one of the journalists chosen to witness the execution. "He was clearly gesturing to people he had in the audience who were friends of his."

King was sentenced to death for shooting and killing a security guard and a clerk during a convenience store robbery in December 1989.

Neither King's family nor the families of the victims were there for the execution. The son of one of the victims, however, did contact Watkiss Wednesday morning.