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Tennessee Brings Back Electric Chair

As Wyoming debates return to firing squad
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2014 12:51 AM CDT
Updated May 23, 2014 3:00 AM CDT
Tennessee Brings Back Electric Chair
An electric chair on exhibit at the Texas Prison Museum in Huntsville, Texas.    (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

(Newser) – Amid shortages of drugs used in lethal injections and controversy over a botched execution in Oklahoma, Tennessee has become the first state to revive an older method of execution. Gov. Bill Haslam yesterday signed a bill allowing the state to use the electric chair if execution drugs are not available, the AP reports. State lawmakers overwhelmingly approved the bill last month. Other states allow condemned inmates to choose the chair, but Tennessee is the first to reintroduce it without giving prisoners a choice, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

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Wyoming, meanwhile, says it's all out of execution drugs, and lawmakers are drafting a bill to bring back the firing squad—though the ABA Journal points out that the state has but a single inmate on Death Row (that would be 69-year-old Dale Wayne Eaton, who was found guilty of the 2004 murder of an 18-year-old woman). State law currently permits death-by-gas-chamber, but the state doesn't actually have a gas chamber. (A recent poll found that one in five Americans supports bringing back gas chambers.)

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