I woke up to the news Thursday morning I had been waiting for more than 17 months to hear.

I would finally get the emails I requested from the governor’s office after the botched execution of Clayton Lockett.

While still employed with the Tulsa World, I asked the governor’s office for copies of all emails related to the execution of Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner from March 1 to May 1. In December, when we still didn’t have the records, we sued.

A lot of other news organizations made similar records requests but the World was the only organization to sue over the state’s foot dragging. I remained an individual plaintiff after leaving to start The Frontier and have continued to work with the newspaper and our attorneys on the lawsuit.

Thanks to assistance from Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, we had excellent legal representation from attorneys Bob Nelon in Oklahoma City and Katie Townsend and Adam Marshall in Washington, D.C.

As you probably know, the state had planned a double execution for April 29, 2014 and intended to execute Lockett and Warner two hours apart.

While Gov. Mary Fallin was away at a Thunder playoff game, it was left to DOC staff to handle the pressure. They would later say that having two executions in one night placed additional stress on a staff already under pressure due to a controversial new lethal drug.

Warner’s execution was put off after Lockett’s 43-minute execution, in which I was one of 12 media witnesses. As this genius lede from Slate noted, the state of Oklahoma had accidentally killed a man in the middle of trying to execute him that night.

After the execution, state officials began a round of buck passing and finger pointing that lasted for months. In fact it’s still going on.

Emails show Fallin’s staff decided on a brief press conference where the governor would take no questions. They referred additional questions to the Department of Public Safety, which she had appointed to conduct an “independent” investigation.

Her spokesman repeatedly told reporters Fallin had no knowledge of the DPS investigation. DOC also claimed it was out of the loop while the “independent” investigation was underway.

But records released to The Frontier and other media organizations Thursday show Fallin’s office was emailing DOC and DPS to keep them abreast of her talking points.

“Thank you Alex. This is very well written and I appreciate the message!” DPS spokesman George Brown replied to Fallin’s spokesman in a May 5 email.

I suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised that the investigation headed by DPS Commissioner Michael Thompson — a former DOC employee and member of Fallin’s cabinet — found no wrongdoing by anyone. Though the prison didn’t have the right needles on hand and the inexperienced doctor struggled to establish an IV, the state pressed forward with an execution in which — predictably — the IV failed.

Meanwhile, a state official who was listening to the whole affair via an open phone line gave the go ahead to DOC’s director to proceed. But the state redacted this person’s name from interview transcripts released as a result of our lawsuit.

It seems incongruous that a bureaucrat who sits in a state office listening in on the phone should be protected while some DOC employees carrying out the deed are identified.

Some people have equated our quest to obtain these records with sympathy for Lockett. That’s like accusing me of an affinity for earthquakes because I’ve demanded records explaining what’s causing them.

I abhor what Lockett did to Stephanie Neiman, who was the same age as my own son when she was so callously buried alive. In fact, I was one of the few reporters who actually wrote a story about Stephanie before the execution.

I also believe it’s my job as a journalist to hold public officials accountable for incompetence and dishonesty. In the case of Oklahoma’s recent executions — both planned and aborted — there’s evidence of both.

While the state’s release of more than 40,000 pages of records Thursday is a welcome development in this long saga, it never should have come to this. The state had already lost a key ruling in the lawsuit, was facing depositions and a motion to compel discovery due to its failure to respond.

After the execution of Richard Glossip was stayed when DOC received the wrong lethal drug, perhaps someone within the governor’s office decided it was time the public deserved answers. Or more than likely, they knew they were about to lose a lawsuit over their failure to comply with the state Open Records Act.