Oklahoma will resume executions after 3-year hold - with nitrogen gas

Oklahoma will resume executions after 3-year hold - with nitrogen gas

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

A spokeswoman for Hunter declined to comment on when executions might resume following a three-year hiatus.

According to the state law, if lethal injection is held unconstitutional or is unavailable, an execution shall be carried out by nitrogen hypoxia.

Robert Dunham, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, expressed doubts about the method in 2015, when the law was being changed to allow for nitrogen executions.

Oklahoma and other states haven't been able to get the drugs required for lethal injections amid opposition from drugmakers to having their products used in executions. While it hasn't been tested for capital punishment, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter is convinced nitrogen will work.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

In 2014, the execution of Clayton Lockett gained global attention when he kicked, writhed and grimaced for 20 minutes before his execution was called off; he died of a heart attack not long after. Oklahoma, which carried out at least one execution every year between 1995 and 2015 - one of only two states to do so, along with Texas - has not executed an inmate since then. He said state leaders had to "to utilize an effective and humane manner that satisfies both the Constitution and the court system".

The AG's Office called on the DOC to again revise its protocol despite a recent overhaul that followed the controversial 2014 execution of Clayton Lockett using the drug midazolam.

Individuals who are exposed to excessive amounts of the inert gases have reported experiencing fatigue, dizziness, headache, loss of breath and eventually consciousness, Hunter said.