The state of Alabama is preparing to utilize a new form of execution in a September 22 death sentence.
The method, called nitrogen hypoxia, was approved by the state legislature in 2018, however it has yet to see action in a real-world case.
Nitrogen Hypoxia is essentially the process of replacing all oxygen in a room with nitrogen, causing a death by asphyxiation.
Hypoxia is a term used to describe when a body does not have enough oxygen to perform all of its regular function upon which a human life depends.
Nitrogen gas is a form of inert gas which is not inherently poisonous to humans, but it is fatal in high concentrations.
According to NPR, a person who is subject to this new form of execution will be unconscious in as little as 40 seconds.
Two other states, Oklahoma and Mississippi, have also approved the method, although neither state has used them to date.
Jen Moreno, a lawyer and expert on lethal injection, said that “If and when states begin carrying out executions with nitrogen, it will amount to the same type of experimentation we see in the different variations of lethal injection.”
Alan Eugene Miller, 57, is the man who is currently scheduled for an execution on September 22, 2022.
Miller was charged and sentenced to death when he killed three individuals while on a shooting spree in two different places of business during August 1999.
Miller has been convicted of capital murder in this case.
According to the Daily Wire, there has been a hiccup in the documentation leading up to the execution, which may mean that nitrogen hypoxia will not be performed on the expected date.
As Miller explains, he believes that his documentation was mishandled by authorities in the Holman Prison, where he is being held.
“I didn’t want to be stabbed with needles and stuff. I didn’t want to be executed at all, but I didn’t want to be stabbed with needles,” explained Miller.
After he signed a form choosing to be executed by the new method, he said that he thought it would be similar to receiving nitrous oxide while at the dentist’s office.
He then returned the form to prison guards.
“I yelled back, ‘I want it notarized and copied.’”
Deputy A.G. James Houts says that he has found no evidence that such a form was ever submitted by Miller.
Mara Klebaner, Miller’s lawyer, announced that they would need to be provided more information about nitrogen hypoxia before the state would be allowed to run a test on MIller.
According to a report from the New York Times, nitrogen hypoxia should be a painless process. Also, a person should not feel any of the effects of suffocation, because they would still be able to exhale carbon dioxide from their body the entire time.
Oklahoma attorney general Mike Hunter says that this new method is “the safest, the best and the most effective method available.”
If all goes according to plan, the execution will take place on September 22, 2022.
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