OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – State leaders announced on Thursday that lethal injections in Oklahoma will resume after an over half-a-decade halt.
Currently there are 47 inmates sitting on death row. With protocol laid out Thusday, Feb. 13 at the Attorney General’s Office, Oklahoma could see its first execution in over five years.
“To put it simply they have waited too long,”said Mike Hunter.
The Attorney General addressed victims awaiting justice as he joined Governor Stitt and DOC officials to lay out a new 30-plus page protocol for capitol punishment in Oklahoma.
In 2014-2015, the State faced national scrutiny after two botched execution involving lethal injection. Executions were stopped and the State of Oklahoma explored using nitrogen gas as an alternative.
Today, officials say, with input from a 2016 grand jury, they’ll return to the original three-drug cocktail.
“We are going to do everything we can to make sure justice is carried out in Oklahoma in the manner it was prescribed,” said Scott Crow, Director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.
“Any issues with these drugs have always been connected with human error, not the efficacy of the drugs,” Hunter said.
Hunter also said supplies of the drugs needed have been secured.
“The efforts of those who oppose to essentially close off access to the drugs is something almost every state is dealing with,” Hunter said.
Opponents to capitol punishment are weighing in.
“The state has other means to protect its citizens, and the use of the death penalty is really not necessary,” Most Rev. Paul S. Coakley, Archbishop of Oklahoma City, said.
Ryan Kiesel, head of the ACLU in Oklahoma, made a statement, saying part, “There is simply no humane way for the government to kill its people. Oklahoma’s experiment with the death penalty is a miserable and grisly failure.”
Following Thursday’s announcement, officials will have to wait 150 days after inmate appeals are exhausted to schedule its first execution.
“I appreciate the patience of those Oklahomans who have lost loved ones and have continued to wait for justice,” Governor Kevin Stitt said.
Official say they will continue to work out a protocol for using nitrogen hypoxia in case drugs can’t be obtained.
Sister Helen Prejean with Ministry Against the Death Penalty released the following statement on Twitter, denouncing Oklahoma state leaders’ plan to bring back the death penalty: