- The Washington Times - Friday, May 23, 2014

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed a bill into law that brings back the electric chair for inmates facing death sentences, while Wyoming lawmakers are mulling whether to use a firing squad — all in response to the shortage of drugs used to make lethal injections for prisoners.

Lawmakers in Tennessee passed the bill in April by a massive margin: The Senate voted 23-3 and the House, 68-13, CBS reported.

Tennessee is the first state to legislatively bring back the electric chair in a manner that doesn’t give inmates an option, said Richard Dieter, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center.

“There are states that allow inmates to choose, but it is a very different matter for a state to impose a method like electrocution,” he said. “No other state has gone so far.”

In Wyoming, a legislative committee is now drafting a bill that would authorize the use of firing squares to carry out death sentences.

A Utah lawmaker said he also is preparing a firing-squad bill in his state’s next legislative session in January.

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The moves follow the botched lethal injection execution last month in Oklahoma of convicted murderer Clayton Lockett, 38, who was sentenced to death for shooting and burning alive 19-year-old Stephanie Neiman.

Lockett began groaning, clenching his teeth and writhed for about 15 minutes before officials halted the execution. He died from a heart attack about 43 minutes later.

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