Sentenced inmates prefer firing squad to lethal injection

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The stretcher in the execution chamber of the Oklahoma State Penitentiary at McAlester. Two Oklahoma death row inmates who face execution in the coming months have offered the firing squad as a less problematic alternative to the state’s lethal injection of three drugs. (AP File Photo / Sue Ogrocki)

OKLAHOMA CITY – Two Oklahoma death row inmates who face execution in the coming months have offered the firing squad as a less problematic alternative to the lethal injection of three drugs, one of their doctors said on Monday. lawyers to a federal judge.

The two inmates – Donald Grant and Gilbert Postelle – want U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot to grant them a temporary injunction that would delay their next executions until a trial can take place to determine whether the lethal injection method at Oklahoma’s three drugs is constitutional. A trial is due to start before Friot on February 28, but Grant is to be put to death on January 27, while Postelle is to be executed on February 17.

“While it may be horrible to watch, we all agree it will be faster,” attorney Jim Stronski told Friot after a day of court hearing in Oklahoma City.

Friot did not render a decision on the inmates’ request on Monday, but said he hoped to issue an order by the end of the week.

“There are a lot of things for me to understand,” said Friot.

Among the experts who testified was Dr.James Williams, a Texas emergency medicine specialist who has over 40,000 hours of experience in emergency rooms and who has extensively studied the use of platoons of ‘execution.

Williams, himself the victim of a gunshot wound to the chest, said a firing squad involving firing at least four high-powered rifles at the heart’s “cardiac beam” would be so fast that an inmate would not feel pain. . He also said that unlike lethal injection, there is a very low probability that the execution will be botched.

Oklahoma has never used the firing squad as a method of executing prisoners since statehood, but current state law allows its use if other methods, such as lethal injection, were deemed unconstitutional or unavailable. Oklahoma Corrections does not currently have an execution protocol in place for a method other than lethal injection.

Friot also heard testimony from Justin Farris, head of operations at the Department of Corrections, about recent fatal injections from death row inmates John Marion Grant and Bigler Stouffer late last year.

Farris, who was inside the death chamber for both executions, described the two lethal injections as being “on opposite ends of the spectrum”.

Grant, who was pronounced dead after vomiting and convulsing on the stretcher, was angry, cursing and resisting execution as he tried to flex his arms and legs, Farris said. Stouffer, on the other hand, “was as polite as you can imagine under the circumstances,” Farris said.

Farris also said the doctor who inserts the intravenous lines and helps supervise the lethal injections is paid $ 15,000 for each performance he attends, as well as $ 1,000 for each day of training. DOC policy prohibits disclosure of the names of execution team members, and the doctor wore a mask during the executions of Grant and Stouffer.

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