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Convicted Killer Wants Firing Squad Considered

Nevada inmate's lawyers say 3-drug combo state wants to use is cruel and unusual
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 20, 2021 4:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – A convicted killer who is fighting a possible June execution date that would make him the first person put to death in Nevada in 15 years is calling for the state to consider the firing squad as an option, a rare method in the United States. Attorneys for Zane Michael Floyd say he does not want to die and are challenging the state plan to use a proposed three-drug method, which led to court challenges that twice delayed the execution of another convicted killer who later took his own life in prison. “This is not a delaying tactic,” Brad Levenson, a federal public defender representing Floyd, said Monday. But a challenge of the state execution protocol requires the defense to provide an alternative method, and Levenson said gunshots to the brain stem would be “the most humane way.” “Execution by firing squad ... causes a faster and less painful death than lethal injection,” the attorneys said in a court filing Friday, per the AP.

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Three US states—Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Utah—and the US military allow capital punishment by gunfire. The last time that method was used in the United States was in Utah in 2010. Floyd's attorneys are asking a federal judge in Las Vegas to stop Floyd from being executed until prison officials “devise a new procedure or procedures to carry out a lawful execution.” Levenson said he and attorney David Anthony are fighting multiple issues in state and federal courts, with the possibility that Floyd’s death could be set for the week of June 7. Prosecutors will seek an execution warrant at a state court hearing next month. The 45-year-old was convicted in 2000 of killing four people with a shotgun in a Las Vegas supermarket in 1999 and badly wounding a fifth person. Floyd appeared to exhaust his federal appeals last November, and the US Supreme Court has declined to hear his case. Floyd wants a chance to seek clemency at a June 22 meeting of the Nevada State Pardons Board, Levenson said.

(Read more firing squad stories.)

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