OKLAHOMA CITY — A Republican lawmaker reacting to an Oklahoma inmate's botched lethal injection said Tuesday he wants to explore giving condemned prisoners the option of death by firing squad, hanging or the electric chair.
State Rep. Mike Christian said he's formally requesting a legislative hearing on the state's death penalty procedures following the April 29 death of Clayton Lockett, whose vein collapsed prompting prison officials to halt his punishment and note the execution drugs weren't administered properly.
Lockett died of an apparent heart attack about 43 minutes after the execution began.
Christian, a former state highway patrolman from Oklahoma City, said he believes a firing squad would be the most logical second option after lethal injection.
"Firing squad, hanging and electric chair. I think those are the three that are definitely constitutional," said Christian, who earlier this year called for the impeachment of state Supreme Court justices who supported a temporary stay of execution for Lockett. "I think just about anybody in Oklahoma would support some of these ideas we're talking about."
Christian has said previously he wouldn't care if condemned inmates in Oklahoma were beheaded or fed to lions.
Five execution methods are currently legal in various places in the United States: injection, electrocution, gas, firing squad and hanging. Tennessee last month became the first state to allow use of the electric chair in some circumstances regardless of the inmate's wishes, if injection drugs are not available, but all of the 32 states that have the death penalty primarily use lethal injection.
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of lethal injection in a 2008 Kentucky case in which the high court said there is no constitutional right to a painless execution.
Under Oklahoma law, if lethal injection is declared unconstitutional, the state would switch to electrocution. If both of those methods are determined unconstitutional, a firing squad is a third option.