Utah Lawmakers Green-Light Return of Executions by Firing Squad

October 11, 2020 0 By HearthstoneYarns

The state that made headlines last year with its botched execution of Clayton Lockett—who writhed in pain from the lethal injection before eventually dying of a heart attack—is now pursuing the return of an age-old method of killing: the firing squad.

Utah’s senators signed a bill Tuesday that would make it the only state in the nation to permit executions by firing squad in cases where lethal drugs are running low.

Specifically, the bill reads, “The method of execution for the defendant is the firing squad if the sentencing court determines the state is unable to lawfully obtain the substance or substances necessary to conduct an execution by lethal intravenous injection 30 or more days prior to the date specified.”

Representative Paul Ray (R), who sponsored the legislation, told the Associated Press, “We would love to get the lethal injection worked out so we can continue with that but if not, now we have a backup plan.”

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The bill moves forward despite opposition from state residents, who have rallied to urge their representatives to reject the firing squad, which they say underscores—and escalates—the brutality of state executions.

“Execution by firing squad sends a very graphic message that belies state leaders’ commitment to respecting and protecting all human life,” declared Utahns for Alternatives to the Death Penalty in a statement released earlier this year.

It is not yet clear whether the bill will be signed into law.

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