Published: Thu, March 15, 2018
Entertaiment | By Mabel Barber

Oklahoma plans to resume executions, with inert gas or nitrogen

Oklahoma plans to resume executions, with inert gas or nitrogen

An autopsy first reported by The Oklahoman revealed that one of the drugs used was not part of the DOC's lethal injection protocol.

Executions could resume no earlier than the end of the year.

Oklahoma has had one of the busiest death chambers in the USA, 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. State law also allows officials to opt for firing squads or the electric chair in executions.

State officials made the announcement Wednesday, saying they cannot get the drugs needed for lethal injections because some drugmakers oppose having their products used in 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.

At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter Director of the Department of Corrections Joe Allbaugh announced that the state will move forward with executions by method of "inert gas inhalation".

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

Oklahoma's last executions drew scrutiny in the state and nationwide.

A multicounty grand jury under the purview of the state Attorney General's Office issued a report in May 2016 calling state officials' conduct during execution preparations "careless". Lockett kicked, writhed and grimaced for 20 minutes before his execution was called off; he died of a heart attack not long after. "It will be some time, I think, before an execution can be scheduled". Oklahoma, which carried out at least one execution every year between 1995 and 2015 - one of only two states to do so, along with Texas - has not executed an inmate since then.

The grand jury said it found that secrecy surrounding how the DOC obtained the drugs used in Warner's execution and allocated for Glossip's was a factor in both having occurred contrary to the lethal injection protocol.

Prison officials must still develop policies and procedures for how the gas would be administered.

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.

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