Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt expressed his confidence in the state’s existing lethal injection protocols and stated that he does not intend to support a transition to nitrogen gas. This comes as other states consider adopting Alabama’s approach of using nitrogen gas for executing death row inmates.
Governor Stitt expressed his confidence in the revamped lethal injection protocols at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. He visited the facility in 2020, following a series of problematic executions.
“I have a clear understanding of how it operates. I am fully aware of their methods,” Stitt expressed during an interview with The Associated Press. He emphasized his intention to maintain a successful procedure and avoid making any alterations.
Oklahoma prison system’s leader, Steven Harpe, and his chief of staff, Justin Farris, had previously made a trip to Alabama to study the state’s nitrogen gas protocols. They expressed their interest in considering this method as an option.
Last week, Alabama made history by becoming the first state to carry out an execution using nitrogen gas. This method of execution has also been authorized in Mississippi and Oklahoma, although in Oklahoma it can only be used as a backup when lethal injection is not available. In light of this, Ohio’s attorney general has recently expressed support for a legislative initiative to adopt nitrogen gas as an execution method in his state.
On Tuesday, Harpe and Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond jointly requested the Court of Criminal Appeals to modify the scheduling of six upcoming executions. They proposed extending the time between each execution to three months instead of the current 60 days.
Harpe argues in the motion that the current frequency of executing individuals every two months is excessively demanding and cannot be maintained in the long run.
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