Group calls for changes to be made following scathing report on Department of Corrections

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OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty responded to a 106-page report that evaluated botched executions in Oklahoma and our state’s death penalty process.

Findings in the report confirmed mistakes were made, but anti-death penalty advocates said more needs to be done.

The group claims the entire justice system is flawed and has asked for a suspension of the death penalty in Oklahoma.

"Lethal injection- Oklahoma has used since 1990 and it just has problems," said Don Heath, Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Vice Chair.

Some lawmakers agreed that change must happen.

"We need to stop the things that we're doing that are so bad, so inhumane," said Rep. George Young, House District 99.

From the findings, the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty has recommended two main changes.

First, any future changes to the state's execution protocol need representation on both sides, including from the coalition, defense attorneys and criminal defendants.

"Richard Glossip, others on death row that have gone through the process and have personally experienced what the protocol means," said Heath.

The second recommendation is to stay all executions for inmates on death row until a more thorough investigation into our system is done.

The report also talked about adopting nitrogen hypoxia, a gas chamber, as the state's execution protocol.

Heath said no state has used that method and that it hasn't been tested, adding that an open public debate should occur before anything is decided upon.

"With expert opinions on both sides to see whether that is a more humane method and if Oklahoma should move to that," said Heath.

The coalition hopes to influence the grand jury as their investigation continues. They are expected to meet again in June to continue the investigation.

The report that was released Thursday is just an interim report.

KFOR reached out to lawmakers who support the death penalty for comment, but we are waiting to hear back.

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