Dead Man Sitting: What’s next for the death penalty in Oklahoma?

execution chamber

MCALESTER, Okla. – Nearly 50 offenders are sitting on death row in McAlester.

However, executions remain on hold while state leaders try to figure out what’s next for the death penalty in Oklahoma.

It was September 2015 when Gov. Mary Fallin issued a last-minute stay for convicted killer Richard Glossip when corrections officials realized they’d gotten the wrong execution drugs.

“No one was held accountable. We want to educate the people so that they will hold our officials accountable,” former State Senator Connie Johnson said.

Now, a state question you’ll vote on in November would put the death penalty in Oklahoma’s constitution, allowing any method of execution to be used, as long as it’s legal under federal law.

Essentially, experts say it does nothing.

“It reminds me of the ‘no Sharia law’ question that we had a couple years ago. I would challenge you to go anywhere in the state of Oklahoma and find a judge who is employing Sharia law,” Perry Hudson, a defense attorney, said.

As officials review execution protocols, they’re facing a tough task after a scathing 106 page grand jury report.

And now an independent panel is doing an in-depth study of the death penalty in Oklahoma.

It’s the first study of its kind, looking at everything from racial discrimination to false confessions.

“If we are going to have the death penalty in Oklahoma, it must be done right. And it hasn’t been in the past,” former Gov. Brad Henry said.

Watch “Dead Man Sitting” Tuesday at 10 p.m.