Okla. Lawmaker: Let's Kill Inmates With Nitrogen

It's painless and cheap, Mike Christian says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2014 2:54 AM CDT
Mike Christian, seen here in Oklahoma in 2011, wants to try executing people with nitrogen gas.   (AP Photo/The Oklahoman, Sarah Phipps, File)
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(Newser) – A lawmaker in the state that pioneered lethal injections says he has found an "innovative" new way to execute inmates involving nitrogen gas. Oklahoma state Rep. Mike Christian tells Der Spiegel that using nitrogen gas for executions is painless, fast, and "cheaper than the bullets you need for the firing squad." Death by the gas is "the most humane way to die," says Christian. "You just sit there and a few minutes later, you're dead," he says, predicting that the untested execution method would definitely meet Supreme Court standards. For executions with the gas, inmates would either be placed in airtight chambers or have a plastic sack put over their heads.

Christian—a former Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper who looked into execution methods after the state's botched execution of inmate Clayton Lockett earlier this year—will present his findings at a hearing today, the Oklahoman reports. But Der Spiegel questions how sincere his desire to find a painless execution method is, noting that after the Lockett execution, he said he didn't care if executions were carried out by "lethal injection, the guillotine, or if we feed them to lions." He also now says that lethal injection will probably be gone from Oklahoma this time next year, but the state "will put these beasts to death" whatever happens. In Wyoming, meanwhile, a committee has rejected a call to ban the death penalty and voted to move forward with a proposal to bring back firing squads, Salon reports. (Read more nitrogen stories.)

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