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Oklahoma Considers Nitrogen Gas for Executions

© Flickr / Jimmy Emerson, DVMOklahoma’s lethal injection protocol has been under scrutiny since the troubled April 2014 execution of Clayton Lockett, who was twisting and mumbling on the gurney for 43 minutes, after staff failed to place his sedative IV properly.
Oklahoma’s lethal injection protocol has been under scrutiny since the troubled April 2014 execution of Clayton Lockett, who was twisting and mumbling on the gurney for 43 minutes, after staff failed to place his sedative IV properly. - Sputnik International
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Having faced problems using lethal injections to execute inmates last year, the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed a bill to allow the use of nitrogen gas as a means of execution.

The state House passed the bill (85-10) with no debate on Tuesday, moving Oklahoma closer to becoming the first state to use “nitrogen hypoxia” as a backup method of execution if lethal injection is ruled unconstitutional or the deadly drugs become unavailable.

A lawsuit filed on behalf of 21 Oklahoma death row inmates on Wednesday, June 25, 2014, seeks to halt any attempt to execute them using the state's current lethal injection protocols, which it claims presents a risk of severe pain and suffering. - Sputnik International
Georgia Delays Execution of Female Inmate Over ‘Cloudy Drug’ Concerns

The process would require an inmate to be in a sealed chamber or wear a special mask, depleting the supply of Oxygen and replacing it with Nitrogen, causing the painless death.

“Nitrogen hypoxia is a better way. It's a more humane way. I believe the use of nitrogen hypoxia will be the thing of the future once it’s passed in Oklahoma," Rep. Mike Christian (R- Oklahoma city) who authored the bill said.

© AP Photo / Sue OgrockiOklahoma Rep. Mike Christian, R-Oklahoma City, speaks during a House Judiciary Committee meeting in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015. Both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees voted on similar bills to authorize "nitrogen hypoxia," which causes death by depleting the supply of oxygen in the blood, as Oklahoma's backup method of execution if lethal injection is ruled unconstitutional or if the deadly drugs become unavailable.
Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian, R-Oklahoma City, speaks during a House Judiciary Committee meeting in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015. Both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees voted on similar bills to authorize nitrogen hypoxia, which causes death by depleting the supply of oxygen in the blood, as Oklahoma's backup method of execution if lethal injection is ruled unconstitutional or if the deadly drugs become unavailable.  - Sputnik International
Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian, R-Oklahoma City, speaks during a House Judiciary Committee meeting in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015. Both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees voted on similar bills to authorize "nitrogen hypoxia," which causes death by depleting the supply of oxygen in the blood, as Oklahoma's backup method of execution if lethal injection is ruled unconstitutional or if the deadly drugs become unavailable.

Oklahoma’s lethal injection protocol has been under scrutiny since the troubled April 2014 execution of Clayton Lockett, who was twisting and mumbling on the gurney for 43 minutes, after staff failed to place his sedative IV properly.

He died of a buildup of lethal injection chemical in his tissue, prompting Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin to order a complete review of his execution.

The execution room is shown Friday, Nov. 18, 2011, at the Oregon State Penitentiary, in Salem, Ore - Sputnik International
Back to Black: Oklahoma Will Carry On With Ill-Fated Lethal Injections

The state resumed executing its death row felons using lethal injections, using the same sedatives that had caused problems during Lockett’s procedure.

In January, the US Supreme Court temporarily blocked the execution of three Oklahoma inmates who challenged the state’s lethal injection procedure.

The bill now moves to the Oklahoma Senate for consideration. Oklahoma Governor has not commented on the bill. 

 

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