Okla. executions to be carried out with gas

AN OCT. 9 2014 FILE

AN OCT. 9 2014 FILE

States have struggled to obtain lethal injection drugs as manufacturers and suppliers increasingly have shunned them under pressure from death penalty opponents.

The last execution in Oklahoma was that of Charles Warner, who died by lethal injection in January 2015.

Since 2015, state law has allowed for execution by nitrogen hypoxia if lethal injection is unavailable.

The state intends to adopt the new execution method as prison officials are unable to acquire the necessary drugs for lethal injections - the method now employed by all American states that carry out the death penalty.

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.

Allbaugh told reporters that "I'm not anxious about anything" when asked about being the first state in the nation to use nitrogen for executions, BuzzFeed News reports.

After a series of mishaps, Oklahoma has become the first state to use nitrogen gas to carry out an execution.

"It is the - a common procedure in states and in countries that allow for assisted suicide", Hunter said.

The state of Oklahoma will use nitrogen gas to execute death row inmates going forward, officials said Wednesday, an unprecedented response to the inability of states nationwide to obtain lethal injection drugs. Oklahoma would be the first state to employ the method. "It will be some time, I think, before an execution can be scheduled".

"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. A bill that would make the electric chair the state's default execution method is now before the House Committee on the Judiciary.

On Tuesday night, Conaway appeared to backtrack from his earlier remarks, telling reporters that whether Russian meddling hurt Hillary Clinton or helped Trump was a "glass half-full, glass half-empty" question.

Oklahoma officials said they didn't know when executions would resume but hope to draft the new gas protocols within the next 120 days.

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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