Oklahoma officials said on Wednesday the state would resume executions using nitrogen gas, a move that would make it the first U.S. state to use the gas for capital punishment.
The state of Oklahoma will use nitrogen gas to execute death row inmates going forward, officials said Wednesday, an unprecedented response to the inability of states nationwide to obtain lethal injection drugs.
"We can no longer sit on the sidelines and wait to find drugs", Hunter said Wednesday.
Grand jurors said nitrogen gas would be easy and cheap to obtain for executions, simple to administer and, according to scientific research, quick and seemingly painless.
Oklahoma has not carried out an execution in more than three years following high-profile mistakes involving lethal injections.
On Tuesday night, Conaway appeared to backtrack from his earlier remarks, telling reporters that whether Russian meddling hurt Hillary Clinton or helped Trump was a "glass half-full, glass half-empty" question.
"Executions are the most profound application of state power", Hunter said in a statement. Still, at a time when states have struggled to obtain lethal injection drugs, Oklahoma's move is the latest in a series of dramatic efforts some officials have made to continue carrying out death sentences.
Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, which opposes the death penalty, called the potential use of nitrogen in capital cases "an experimentation" that would likely cause suffering.
An autopsy first reported by The Oklahoman revealed that one of the drugs used was not part of the DOC's lethal injection protocol.
Oklahoma is developing a protocol for the state's new primary method of execution: inert gas inhalation. Oklahoma, which carried out at least one execution every year between 1995 and 2015 - one of only two states to do so, along with Texas - has not executed an inmate since then.
The AG's Office called on the DOC to again revise its protocol despite a recent overhaul that followed the controversial 2014 execution of Clayton Lockett using the drug midazolam.
Gov. Mary Fallin in 2015 signed a measure adding nitrogen gas to the list of execution methods.
Seventeen inmates are eligible for execution and have exhausted the appeal process.
"Nitrogen hypoxia has been studied as a means of suicide and as it relates to pilots for decades and its benefits are it's not a complicated medical procedure, nor does it require pharmaceuticals that might be restricted in supply", said Michael Copeland, an assistant professor of criminology at East Central University in Ada who testified at a legislative hearing about the issue in September 2014.