Oklahoma to begin using nitrogen for executions

Oklahoma to begin using nitrogen for executions
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Oklahoma officials announced Wednesday that the state would begin using nitrogen gas for executions, making it the first state to use the gas for capital punishment.

The state attorney general, Mike Hunter (R), and corrections director, Joe Allbaugh, said during a news conference that the gas will become Oklahoma's primary method of execution after a protocol is finalized, according to local ABC affiliate KOCO.


The gas could be used by the end of the year, The Oklahoman reported, with executions resuming in the state after more than three years.

The introduction of nitrogen comes as the state has had difficulties obtaining the proper substances for lethal injections, the state attorney general's office said.

A 2015 state law allows the use of nitrogen, which depletes the body of air, for executions if the proper lethal drugs are unavailable or ruled unconstitutional. The next year, a grand jury recommended nitrogen for official use, citing its reportedly quick and humane effect. 

While capital punishment is currently legal in 31 states, Oklahoma will become the first state to use nitrogen gas in executions. Oklahoma currently has 17 death row inmates eligible for execution dates, according to The Oklahoman.