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New Idea, Old Punshment

Oklahoma considers using nitrogen gas for executions

In the wake of a horrific botched execution via lethal injection earlier this year, an Oklahoma politician is asking the state to consider a completely new method of killing condemned prisoners: nitrogen gas.

State lawmakers on Tuesday held a hearing to discuss the proposal, first raised by State Rep. Mike Christian (R). The process would involve prisoners being placed in a sealed chamber or donning a gas mask that gradually replaces oxygen with nitrogen, resulting in hypoxia — or oxygen deprivation.

"I think it's groundbreaking, I think it's innovative, I think it's going to be efficient and practical," Christian said. Christian previously proposed bringing back the firing squad, but determined nitrogen would be more humane and foolproof.

In April, the state executed Clayton Lockett using an untested drug cocktail. Lockett writhed on a gurney for 43 minutes before dying.