Oklahoma to resume executing death row inmates

Catherine Garcia

After a five-year pause, Oklahoma will resume executing inmates on death row.

There are 47 inmates on Oklahoma's death row. The state put a hold on lethal injections after several botched executions; in 2014, an inmate flailed on the gurney after being injected with the drugs, and a year later, another inmate was executed with an unapproved drug.

During a press conference Thursday, Gov. Kevin Stitt (R), Attorney General Mike Hunter, and Oklahoma Department of Corrections Director Scott Crow said the drugs midazolam, vecuronium bromide, and potassium chloride will be used in the executions, and they have a source for all three. These are the same drugs that were used in the earlier bungled executions. Hunter said the problems were caused by human error, not the drugs.

Stitt told reporters he believes "capital punishment is appropriate for the most heinous of crimes, and it is our duty as state officials to obey the laws of the state of Oklahoma by carrying out this somber task." Dale Baich, a federal public defender who is representing several death row prisoners, told The Associated Press that Oklahoma's "history of mistakes and malfeasance reveals a culture of carelessness around executions, and that should give everyone pause. In the next few days, we will advise the federal court and continue with the ongoing litigation challenging the constitutionality of Oklahoma's protocol."

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