Oklahoma Plans To Be The First State To Use Nitrogen For Executions


Allbaugh told reporters that "I'm not anxious about anything" when asked about being the first state in the nation to use nitrogen for executions, BuzzFeed News reports. "Trying to find alternative compounds or someone with prescribing authority willing to provide us with the drugs is becoming exceedingly hard, and we will not attempt to obtain the drugs illegally". "I think it's a good thing in that it will delay the process further". After the state executed Charles Warner in January 2015, officials acknowledged they had used the wrong drug for his lethal injection, an admission that only came after officials hastily called off another execution because they also had the wrong drug for it.

The execution table in the death-penalty chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. And the gas - nitrogen - is what U.S. Air Force pilots are exposed to during high-altitude tests that gauge their reaction to reduced oxygen and can render them unconscious.

Grand jurors made the recommendation after investigating why the wrong drug, potassium acetate, was used to execute murderer Charles Frederick Warner in January 2015 and nearly used again later that year. A bungled procedure in 2014 left an inmate writhing on the gurney.

Many states have slowed their lethal injection executions as the drugs have become hard to obtain in the past two years amid a nationwide shortage and after some drug companies mandated their products not be used to kill inmates.

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MS has a law allowing nitrogen to be used in executions if the lethal injection method is unconstitutional or unavailable, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Unknowns remain, give that state officials only recently began developing the protocols.

"This method has never been used before and is experimental", Baich said.

Some states have used the gas chamber in decades past, but that involved dropping pellets of poison like cyanide into acid, enveloping the inmate in vapor and causing a gruesome and sometimes protracted death.

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Hunter said opponents of capital punishment are "waging a guerilla war" against the death penalty. Oklahoma would be the first state to employ the method. Many have not been adopted, including a recommendation that there be an independent, third-party review of completed executions.

"Who are the experts on nitrogen and nitrogen hypoxia who will be brought in?"

Sister Helen Prejean, the nun and anti-execution activist from "Dead Man Walking", blasted Oklahoma's plan as "human experimentation".

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