A New State Considers Controversial Execution Method

Ohio could join Alabama, which was the first to use nitrogen method
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2024 12:30 AM CST
Now Ohio Is Considering Nitrogen Executions
Anti-death penalty activists place signs along the road heading to Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Ala., ahead of the scheduled execution of Kenneth Eugene Smith on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024.   (AP Photo/Kim Chandler)

Another state could soon join Alabama in using a controversial new execution method. Ohio, where executions have been paused since 2018 due to problems obtaining lethal injection drugs, is considering the use of nitrogen gas executions, USA Today reports. Two Republican state representatives have introduced legislation that would allow death row inmates to state a preference between lethal injection and nitrogen hypoxia as the method of execution, but which would also dictate that in cases where the death sentence "cannot be executed by lethal injection," the nitrogen method would be used instead. Gov. Mike DeWine said in 2020 that lethal injection appeared "impossible from a practical point of view" and that lawmakers would need to settle on a different execution method before any death sentences could be carried out.

Alabama last week became the first state to execute someone using nitrogen gas, raising concerns from activists who questioned whether it's a humane method of execution. In a press conference regarding the proposed Ohio legislation, the state's attorney general said he supports the bill, ABC News reports. "I am aware of the moral weight of this debate, but this is law of the land," he said. "If we wish to break the promises that we made to the families of all these victims over all these years, if we wish to not keep faith with the jurors that we asked to take this heavy weight on to make a judgment, then we owe it to our society and to all those that are involved to own our decision to change our minds." Mississippi and Oklahoma have also approved nitrogen gas executions. (More nitrogen hypoxia stories.)

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