'The most common method of executing condemned prisoners in the U.S. — lethal injection — has suffered a mountain of setbacks in recent months. Most notably, executions using relatively untested drugs have not gone as intended in several states, including Arizona, Ohio and Oklahoma.
But one Oklahoma lawmaker thinks he might have a potential solution to the lethal-injection crisis: nitrogen gas.
Rep. Mike Christian, a Republican from Oklahoma City, is slated to present the idea Tuesday to the state legislature, inviting its members to take up a broader study on the issue.
According to a story by a local television station:
[Rep. Christian] wants to use nitrogen gas. . . . The process is officially called Nitrogen Asphyxiation, a fancy term for the process of slowly replacing oxygen with nitrogen. Those who have studied the process say it causes no pain and can kill a person within a matter of minutes.
A message left with Rep. Christian wasn't immediately returned. But he told News Channel 4 that "if you deplete oxygen it's within 8-to-14 seconds, up to no more than 20 seconds that they pass out. And then, within a few minutes, up to 8 minutes, probably less, that they would be pronounced dead."
According to the Oklahoman, nitrogen has likely never been used for an execution. But Mr. Christian told the paper that the approach seems humane. "Some who have received an accidental excess of the gas have even said the effect was mildly euphoric," according to the story. '