For more than 10 years, John Lotter has faced death in Nebraska’s electric chair for the grisly 1993 triple murder that spawned the movie “Boys Don’t Cry.” But the state Supreme Court made that sentence uncertain for Lotter and the nine other men on death row in its February ruling that electrocution — Nebraska’s only means of execution — is cruel and unusual punishment. Lawyers involved in those death-row cases are now asking if an inmate who is sentenced to die in the electric chair can be executed by another means.
Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning says yes. Attorneys for the Nebraska Commission on Public Advocacy — who represent many of the men on death row — disagree. Not only does the law specify electrocution, many of the actual sentencing orders specify that method, said James Mowbray, chief counsel for the commission. Complicating the situation is that months after the court’s action, the governor hasn’t proposed a new execution method and the state legislature hasn’t met to consider changing the law. Gov. Dave Heineman has asked Bruning to look into the possible methods of execution, a process that could take several months.