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Oklahoma Plans To Use Nitrogen Gas For Executions - KOAM TV 7

Oklahoma Plans To Use Nitrogen Gas For Executions

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     After trying unsuccessfully for months to obtain lethal injection drugs, Oklahoma officials said Wednesday they plan to use nitrogen gas to execute inmates once the state resumes using the death penalty, marking the first time a U.S. state would use the gas to carry out capital punishment.
    Oklahoma and other states haven't been able to get the drugs required for lethal injections amid opposition from drug makers to having their products used in executions.
    "We can no longer sit on the sidelines and wait to find drugs, said State Attorney General Mike Hunter. "Using (nitrogen) will be effective, simple to administer, simple to obtain and requires no complex medical procedures."
    Oklahoma has had one of the busiest death chambers in the U.S., but hasn't carried out an execution since 2015 after a series of mishaps, including a botched lethal injection in 2014 that left an inmate writhing on the gurney.
    Hunter said using nitrogen is the best way for Oklahoma to resume executions.
    Any attempt to change the method used to execute inmates in Oklahoma is certain to trigger a flurry of legal challenges. Hunter said there is a growing body of research on the use of inert gases on humans because of its increasing use in assisted suicides, but several death penalty experts said the use of the nitrogen gas on unwilling subjects is entirely experimental and untested.
    The attorney general's office has said in court filings that it will not request any execution dates until at least five months after the new protocols are released.
     Meanwhile, 17 death row inmates in Oklahoma have exhausted all of their appeals and are awaiting execution dates to be set.
    Four other states allow the use of a gas chamber as an alternative method of execution, including Missouri, Arizona, California and Wyoming, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.


    

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