The Latest: Panel suggests study of nitrogen for executions

AP News
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Posted: May 19, 2016 5:50 PM

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Latest on a grand jury investigation of Oklahoma's execution procedures (all times local):

4:50 p.m.

A grand jury investigating Oklahoma's execution protocols says the state should study the use of nitrogen gas to administer the death penalty.

The report issued Thursday said nitrogen would be "easy and inexpensive to obtain" and also "simple to administer."

Oklahoma now uses a three-drug protocol, beginning with the surgical sedative midazolam, in its executions.

Attorney General Scott Pruitt said in a statement that the recommendation is important and that he looks forward to working with Gov. Mary Fallin and the Oklahoma Legislature to consider its feasibility. The Legislature is set to adjourn its regular session next week.

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4:30 p.m.

An Oklahoma grand jury investigating the state's execution procedures says a top lawyer for Gov. Mary Fallin encouraged the use of the wrong lethal injection drug in an execution that was later called off.

The grand jury did not issue any indictments Thursday in its investigation, but said that Steve Mullins "felt comfortable proceeding" with the execution of Richard Glossip even though the state had received potassium acetate, rather than potassium chloride.

Glossip's execution was scheduled for Sept. 30 but it was halted by Fallin.

Mullins resigned in February as Fallin's general counsel. At the time, he said his doctor had told him to "better control the stress in my life," and that he wanted to help the governor save on personnel costs in her office.

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4:10 p.m.

A special grand jury investigating three botched execution attempts in Oklahoma has delivered a 106-page report to a judge.

Oklahoma County District Judge Donald Deason thanked the grand jury Thursday for its work and said Oklahomans "need to know somebody has been looking at the monkey business that's been going on at the Department of Corrections."

Attorney General Scott Pruitt assembled the panel after the wrong drug was delivered for an execution last fall. Richard Glossip's execution was called off, but it turned out that Charles Warner had been executed with the same wrong chemical.

The mix-ups follow an April 2014 execution in which inmate Clayton Lockett struggled on a gurney before dying 43 minutes into his lethal injection — and after the state's prison's chief ordered executioners to stop.