Death Penalty

Bill to allow firing-squad executions is being drafted in state with just one death-row inmate

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A legislative committee in Wyoming is drafting a bill to allow firing-squad executions, though the state has only one death-row inmate.

Committee staffers are beginning work on the bill after the director of the state’s Department of Corrections suggested the state needs an alternative to execution drugs, which are increasingly difficult to obtain, the Associated Press reports.

Currently the state has no execution drugs, corrections director Bob Lampert said.

Wyoming law allows gas-chamber executions if lethal injections are found to be unconstitutional. The state doesn’t have a gas chamber, however.

The only inmate on Wyoming’s death row is Dale Wayne Eaton, 69, convicted in the 2004 murder of an 18-year-old woman, the story says.

A lawmaker in Utah has also announced plans to introduce a bill to bring back firing squads. Utah State Rep. Paul Ray said he backed the option because “the prisoner dies instantly” and “there’s no suffering,” the Associated Press reported earlier this month. “It sounds like the Wild West, but it’s probably the most humane way to kill somebody,” Ray said.

Ray plans to introduce his proposal in the next legislative session beginning in January. Utah still allows firing-squad executions for inmates convicted before a 2004 law banned its use.

Lawmakers in Utah and Wyoming had floated the idea of firing squads earlier this year, but those efforts had stalled. Now the states are reconsidering the proposal after the botched lethal-injection execution in Oklahoma, AP says.

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