Tag Archives | Lethal Injection

Utah’s firing squad plan is another twist in America’s long quest for a perfect execution method

The death chamber at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. REUTERS/Jenevieve Robbins/Texas Dept of Criminal Justice/Handout

The death chamber at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas.
REUTERS/Jenevieve Robbins/Texas Dept of Criminal Justice/Handout

Daniel LaChance, Emory University

Concerned that the Supreme Court may soon declare lethal injection unconstitutional, some states are making back-up plans.

In March, Utah’s governor signed legislation that will bring back the firing squad as the state’s official execution method in the event that injection – the method used by every state that still retains the death penalty – is no longer possible.

Utah’s legislation has received a lot of attention, in part because the state occupies a symbolically important place in the history of the modern American death penalty.

In 1977, it was the first to kill anyone after a ten-year suspension of executions in the United States. (The Supreme Court had found the death penalty capriciously applied, and thus unconstitutional, in a 1972 case. But it permitted executions to resume four years later when states presented the Court with new sentencing guidelines aimed at reducing arbitrariness.)

Standing in front of five rifles poking through a slotted wall, convicted murderer Gary Gilmore famously uttered, “Let’s do it,” and with his death, the modern era of executions in the United States was born.… Read the rest

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From America’s Busiest Death Chamber, a Catalog of Last Rants, Pleas and Apologies

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Texas Department of Criminal Justice
The injection gurney, with an overhead microphone, in the execution chamber at the Walls Unit prison in Huntsville, Tex.

Not only are the executed noted down at the Walls Unit prison in Huntsville  Texas, but so are their last words. via The New York Times

HUNTSVILLE, Tex. — Karl Eugene Chamberlain went to his neighbor’s apartment that night in Dallas under the pretense of borrowing sugar. He returned later, forced her into a bedroom, bound her hands and feet, raped her and then used a rifle to shoot and kill her. His victim, Felecia Prechtl, 29, was a single mother with a 5-year-old son.

Eleven years after he was convicted of capital murder, Mr. Chamberlain, 37, was strapped to a gurney in Texas’ execution chamber at the Walls Unit prison here and was asked by a warden if he had any last words. “Thank you for being here today to honor Felecia Prechtl, whom I didn’t even know,” he told her son, parents and brother on June 11, 2008.

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Sole Thiopental Company Halts Production Over Death Penalty Use

Guess we’ll have to hold off killing a few people, or just resort to “inhumane” ways of execution. Globe and Mail reports:

Hospira Inc. HSP-N, the only U.S. manufacturer of one of the drugs used in lethal injections, is halting production of a drug over a controversy in Europe about its use in capital punishment.

Many U.S. states have already run out of sodium thiopental, and today’s decision by Hospira could see further delays in executions.

Hospira had suspended production in 2009 but planned to start up again early this year at its facility in Liscate, Italy. Italy’s government, though, ordered the company to make certain that the drug manufactured in Italy wouldn’t be used for executions.

[Continues a Globe & Mail]

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