Gas chamber eyed by Oklahoma legislators for future executions
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- With executions in Oklahoma on hold amid a constitutional review of its lethal injection formula, Republican legislators are pushing to make Oklahoma the first state in the nation to allow nitrogen gas to execute death row inmates.
A bill scheduled for a hearing Wednesday in a House committee would make death by "nitrogen hypoxia" a backup method of execution if the state's current method were determined to be unconstitutional.
The U.S. Supreme Court is reviewing the state's three-drug method in a case sparked by a botched lethal injection last spring.
Rep. Mike Christian of Oklahoma City says using nitrogen gas to cut off an inmate's supply of oxygen would be a low-cost, foolproof method of execution.
An analysis of the bill projects a $300,000 cost to build a gas chamber.