Oklahoma uses nitrogen gas for execution

Oklahoma uses nitrogen gas for execution

Executions were not expected to resume until at least the end of the year, according to The Oklahoman.

Oklahoma has not carried out an execution since 2015 after a series of mishaps, including a botched lethal injection where an inmate was seen by witnesses writhing in pain on a death chamber gurney.

Many states have slowed their lethal injection executions as the drugs have become hard to obtain in the past two years amid a nationwide shortage and after some drug companies mandated their products not be used to kill inmates.

Attorney General Mike Hunter and Joe Allbaugh, the director of the Oklahoma Corrections Department, made the announcement Wednesday at a news conference at the Capitol.

Hunter said this method is the best way for the state to move forward with executions.

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

"As state leaders, it is our duty to find an effective and humane manner that satisfies both the Constitution and the court system", Hunter said. Oklahoma would be the first state to employ the method.

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

Warner's execution, which was scheduled to occur the same night as Lockett's, was ultimately postponed until the following January. But in recent years, even those states dedicated to continuing the practice have run into roadblocks amid a shortage of lethal injection chemicals, driven in part by drugmakers' objections to the death penalty.

The House Intelligence Committee has set itself a March 22 deadline to make changes to a draft report authored by panel Republicans, at which point they plan to adopt the report as final and send it on to the intelligence community for any necessary redactions of classified information.

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

Nitrogen gas exposure is known to cause death within minutes, with those exposed experiencing fatigue, dizziness, loss of breath and euphoria before losing consciousness, Hunter's office said in a statement.

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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