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May 24, 2014

U.S. execution methods

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NORMAN —

· Virginia: Allows prisoners to choose between injection and electrocution. A proposal to allow the Virginia Department of Corrections to use the electric chair as a backup if drugs weren’t available passed the Virginia House but died in the Senate during this year’s legislative session. Republican Sen. Charles W. “Bill” Carrico, who sponsored the bill, said he thinks Tennessee’s decision and a high-profile botched injection in Oklahoma recently bolster the chances of his bill passing next year.

INJECTION

Thirty-five states, the federal government and the U.S. military use injection as the primary method of carrying out an execution. Three of them — New Mexico, Connecticut, and Maryland — abolished the death penalty but their laws were not retroactive, leaving inmates on death row in each state.

GAS CHAMBER

Arizona, Missouri and Wyoming allow the state to put inmates to death in the gas chamber if lethal injection drugs are not available.

HANGING

Delaware, New Hampshire and Washington allow the state to hang inmates if lethal injection drugs are not available.

FIRING SQUAD

· Oklahoma: Law on the books would allow the state to use a firing squad only if lethal injection and electrocution are found unconstitutional.

· Utah: No longer offers the firing squad as an option to inmates, but would allow it only for inmates who chose this method prior to its elimination.

— AP

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