Oklahoma will resume executions after 3-year hold - with nitrogen gas

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

Oklahoma will resume executions after 3-year hold - with nitrogen gas

We can no longer sit on the sidelines and wait on the drugs.

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. The change comes after issues locating the drugs used for the lethal injection process.

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".

According to the state law, if lethal injection is unavailable, executions must be carried out by nitrogen gas inhalation, Hunter said in the statement.

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

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

DOC Director Joe Allbaugh said Wednesday that many death row inmates have been employing various methods, including dehydrating themselves, leading up to their executions that ensure challenges for the medical staff attempting lethal injection.

Globally, the United States ranked seventh or eighth in executions in 2016, behind China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Pakistan, Egypt and possibly Vietnam, where the total number of executions remains unclear, the center said. State law also allows officials to opt for firing squads or the electric chair in executions. "I got to the point in finding these drugs that I was calling all around the world to the back streets of the Indian subcontinent".

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Hunter noted that nitrogen gas has not been tested as a method of capital punishment - no country uses it for state-sanctioned executions - but that its success has been documented in use with assisted suicides.

Oklahoma's last executions drew scrutiny in the state and nationwide. "Oklahoma is once again asking us to trust it as officials 'learn on the job, ' through a new execution procedure and method". He said he'd heard the state was going to stick with lethal injection in part because the new method is untested and going to require a lot of appeals.

"It's hard to say it's a good thing, killing people a different way", he said.

Warner's execution, which was scheduled to occur the same night as Lockett's, was ultimately postponed until the following January.

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