Oklahoma Attorney General announces new execution method for state

Oklahoma Attorney General announces new execution method for state

In 2016, the state's multicounty grand jury recommended Oklahoma use nitrogen gas as the execution method given the increasing difficulty in obtaining the proper drugs for lethal injections.

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.

Hunter said opponents of capital punishment are "waging a guerilla war" against the death penalty.

Oklahoma has not carried out an execution in more than three years following high-profile mistakes involving lethal injections. The state's attorney general, Mike Hunter, cited the use of nitrogen in assisted suicides as proof that it is humane.

No Oklahoma inmate has been executed since 2015 following several mishaps.

In 2014, Oklahoma drew intense scrutiny for its death-penalty procedures after the execution of Clayton Lockett gained global attention.

The Oklahoma Attorney General's Office requested an indefinite stay of executions in October 2015 after it became aware that the same incorrect drug - potassium acetate - was what the DOC had received for Richard Glossip's scheduled execution.

Seventeen death row inmates in Oklahoma are eligible for execution dates after losing appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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The DOC is working to develop a protocol and procedures for future executions.

It's not yet clear when executions would resume.

"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", Oklahoma Corrections Director Joe Allbaugh said.

"I was calling all around the world to the back streets of the Indian subcontinent to procure drugs", he said.

In addition, Allbaugh said inmates have stopped hydrating days and weeks leading up to executions, which makes it more hard for medical personnel to insert needles.

Execution officials said the chemical element likely would be administered using a specially designed gas mask.

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

Don Heath, chair of the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, said he was "a little surprised" by the announcement. But Mr. Dunham said that a morbidly ill person voluntarily dying with the aid of sedatives and surrounded by loved ones, and an inmate being put to death against his or her will, were hardly comparable. "I think it's a good thing in that it will delay the process further".

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