Oklahoma Attorney General announces new execution method for state

Angelo Anderson
March 15, 2018

"I think that Oklahoma has acted first and thought second in the manner it's gone about conducting executions", he told the Post at the time.

Oklahoma has not carried out an execution in more than three years following high-profile mistakes involving lethal injections, including one that a grand jury described as an "inexcusable failure".

Gov. Mary Fallin in 2015 signed a measure adding gas to the state's execution method, reports Tulsa World.

Oklahoma is turning to nitrogen after it, and other states, have been unable to acquire drugs required for lethal injections due to opposition from manufacturers to their products being used for capital punishment.

"We can no longer sit on the sidelines and wait to find drugs", Hunter said Wednesday.

At the news conference in Oklahoma on Wednesday, officials did not discuss the use of sedatives, but said they had not yet determined a protocol in which to carry out executions with nitrogen.

A grand jury investigating those errors, including the administering of the wrong drug during a 2015 lethal injection, recommended the use of nitrogen gas as an alternative, according to The Oklahoman newspaper.

Oklahoma officials announced a plan to use nitrogen gas to execute inmates once the state resumes using the death penalty, marking the first time a USA state would use the gas to carry out capital punishment. A bungled procedure in 2014 left an inmate writhing on the gurney.

"It is the - a common procedure in states and in countries that allow for assisted suicide", Hunter said.

Oklahoma officials said they didn't know when executions would resume but hope to draft the new gas protocols within the next 120 days. But in recent years, even those states dedicated to continuing the practice have run into roadblocks amid a shortage of lethal injection chemicals, driven in part by drugmakers' objections to the death penalty.

A financial analysis prepared for state legislatures before Oklahoma passed the nitrogen gas option in 2015 described the potential costs as "minimal" and said the process would require only a gas mask and a container of nitrogen.

Nitrogen gas exposure is known to cause death within minutes, with those exposed experiencing fatigue, dizziness, loss of breath and euphoria before losing consciousness, Hunter's office said in a statement.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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