Louisiana corrections secretary James LeBlanc suggests using nitrogen asphyxiation for capital punishment if current methods of lethal injection prove unusable, reports Slate. The condemned could be put in an airtight chamber pumped full of nitrogen gas, causing death by a lack of oxygen. Nitrogen gas has yet to be put to the test as a method of capital punishment, but people do die accidentally of nitrogen asphyxiation, and usually never know what hit them, Slate says.
A Louisiana legislative committee asked LeBlanc to study the use of nitrogen for capital punishment. The state has delayed a pending execution. “If we're going to take a life, then we should do it in the most humane, civilized manner as is possible,” says Lawrence Gist II, an attorney and professor of business and law at Mount St. Mary’s College. “Right now, nitrogen is the best of the available options.”