The botched execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma last April and other troubling ones this year in Ohio and Arizona gave capital punishment opponents a flicker of hope that areas of the country that most enthusiastically support the death penalty might have a change of heart, says the Associated Press. But that hasn’t happened. Oklahoma is scheduled to resume executions in mid-January, and issues raised by the botched executions have led states to explore other ways of killing, including gassing inmates.
After a “little flash of hope,” said Lydia Polley of the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, “It just led to people thinking of better ways to kill them.” Oklahoma is expected to consider legislation early next year that would make it the first state to adopt hypoxia by gas – the forced deprivation of oxygen – as a legal execution method. Other conservative states also are exploring alternatives to lethal injection because of the problems securing the drugs. Tennessee passed a law this year to reinstate the electric chair if it can’t get lethal injection drugs and Utah is considering bringing back the firing squad.