Oklahoma Says It Will Use Nitrogen Gas in Executions

The gurney is seen in the execution chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary and the viewing room behind the glass

The gurney is seen in the execution chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary and the viewing room behind the glass

Corrections Director Joe Allbaugh was put in charge of the state's prisons in January 2016, a year after Oklahoma's last execution, one in which the state used the wrong drug on Charles Warner.

Oklahoma officials said on Wednesday the state would resume executions using nitrogen gas, a move that would make it the first U.S. state to use the gas for capital punishment.

Hunter said the state plans to abandon its current lethal injection procedure, which relies on a three-drug cocktail - Midazolam, vecuronium bromide and potassium chloride - inserted into an IV.

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 and drug mix-ups in which the wrong lethal drugs were delivered to the prison for executions.

Hunter said using nitrogen gas is the best way for Oklahoma to resume executions, but it will still need to go through courts and could take months before it goes into action.

FOX23 reached out to area district attorneys about possible cases this could impact.

More news: San Leandro HS locks down after threatening graffitti found
More news: Barack Obama Reveals His NCAA Tournament Bracket
More news: BJP-Congress members exchange slaps and kicks

A grand jury investigation sharply assailed officials charged with carrying out Oklahoma's executions, and Scott Pruitt, then the state's attorney general, called them "careless, cavalier and in some circumstances dismissive of established procedures".

Any attempt to change the method used to execute inmates in Oklahoma is certain to trigger a flurry of legal challenges. When nitrogen gas was approved as a backup method in Oklahoma, the corrections department said there was no protocol in place, and that remained the case Wednesday, almost two years later.

"How can we trust Oklahoma to get this right when the state has the recent history that reveals a culture of carelessness and mistakes?"

Gov. Mary Fallin in 2015 signed a measure adding nitrogen gas to the list of execution methods.

"Nitrogen hypoxia has been studied as a means of suicide and as it relates to pilots for decades and its benefits are it's not a complicated medical procedure, nor does it require pharmaceuticals that might be restricted in supply", said Michael Copeland, an assistant professor of criminology at East Central University in Ada who testified at a legislative hearing about the issue in September 2014.

The precise details have yet to be worked out, but it's likely that a hood or a mask would be used to administer nitrogen gas. That's caused forced delays and changes in protocol in several states. Overall US executions rose slightly in 2017 to 23 but remained around the lowest in decades, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Recommended News

  • SA govt criticises Australia's response to land debate

    SA govt criticises Australia's response to land debate

    South Africa's foreign ministry has dismissed Mr Dutton's comments and expressed its "regret" over the lack of diplomatic communication.
    'US steel & aluminum tariffs are penny wise, pound foolish'

    'US steel & aluminum tariffs are penny wise, pound foolish'

    He was to also visit three Canadian steel cities this week to reassure workers. " We back the United States' right to do that". China has repeatedly vowed to defend its "legitimate rights and interests" if targeted by USA trade actions.
    Vancouver 'still game' for World Cup bid despite cost concerns

    Vancouver 'still game' for World Cup bid despite cost concerns

    Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Edmonton, identified as potential Canadian candidate cities, have already endorsed the bid. Their unified bid has to be submitted by the end of the week, and FIFA's decision is expected in mid-June.
  • Dallas Cowboys must pursue Tyrann Mathieu in free agency

    Dallas Cowboys must pursue Tyrann Mathieu in free agency

    On the other hand, if Mathieu likes warm weather and not having to pay a state income tax, then maybe he'll take O.J. With the amount of talent that the Cardinals have at the safety position, it made sense to move on from the veteran.
    You can now set location-based reminders from Google Home

    You can now set location-based reminders from Google Home

    If you say, "remind me to grab some cereal from the grocery store", then you'll be notified when you get to a grocery store. The feature is available only in the USA for now and will be rolled out across other markets eventually.
    Arnold Palmer Invitational: Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy star at Bay Hill

    Arnold Palmer Invitational: Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy star at Bay Hill

    Woods showed some of the golfing brilliance that saw him win 79 Tour titles and more than $350m in prize money. So the "winning time" reference at that moment never was realistic.
  • Stormy Daniels Starts Online Fundraiser for Trump Lawsuit

    Stormy Daniels Starts Online Fundraiser for Trump Lawsuit

    But Trump never signed, providing the basis for Avenatti's attempt to have it thrown out and release Daniels from her obligations. He said the porn star, her manager, and her lawyer were discussing how best to address the Trump conversation.
    American Idol contestant kissed by Katy Perry said it made him 'uncomfortable'

    American Idol contestant kissed by Katy Perry said it made him 'uncomfortable'

    Glaze then asked for a drink of water, delivered a lackluster audition and was kindly rejected by the judges. But it didn't satisfy the 33-year-old popstar who complained that Benjamin "didn't make the smooch sound".
    Explosion kills 9 in northeast Pakistan

    Explosion kills 9 in northeast Pakistan

    Initial reports suggested, a motorbike was used in the blast, he said, adding that it could have been the act of a suicide bomber. A suicide attack near a software technology park in Lahore killed 26 people and wounded over 50 in July previous year .
  • World Happiness Report 2018

    World Happiness Report 2018

    The United States, 14th past year , is now 18th, while the United Kingdom is in 19th, the same spot it occupied in 2017. In fact, he noted, the 10 countries that scored highest in overall happiness also had the happiest immigrants.
    ACA writes Trump, urging him to reconsider steel, aluminum tariffs

    ACA writes Trump, urging him to reconsider steel, aluminum tariffs

    Trudeau said tariffs on Canada would have made it harder to get a deal, and said he raised that with the president. Yet privately, many nations are moving to consider trade concessions that would exempt them from the USA tariffs.
    Renewable energy deal is delayed - again

    Renewable energy deal is delayed - again

    In his response, Radebe said nothing prevented Eskom and IPPs from signing the agreements. Hlubi said the union was questioning the intentions.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.