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Execution and the electric chair: the controversy over this type of execution in the United States is revived

Richard Moore57 years. melissa lucio, 53. The first murdered a supermarket worker in 1999; the second was accused in 2007 of beating, torturing and killing her two-year-old daughter. Both were sentenced to death penalty.

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Justice has ordered that Lucio be executed this Wednesday, April 27, becoming the first Latin woman to be executed in Texas. The method: lethal injection. And until recently, Moore was due to appear in front of a firing squad on Friday the 29th, the first time this device has been used in South Carolina.

But his sentence was postponed.

Currently, the traditional methods to end people’s lives are questioned and not only from the rhetoric. The AFP agency puts the magnifying glass, for example, on the Moore case: “Manufacturers refuse to deliver the necessary ingredients to lethal injection”, so the sentenced only have two options left, the electric chair or the firing squad.

Moore’s attorney, Lindsey Vann, strongly criticized: “The electric chair and the firing squad are outdated and barbaric methods of execution, abandoned by almost all US jurisdictions.”.

AFP agrees: this method has been used only three times in the US since the Supreme Court “reinstated capital punishment” in 1976. They were all in Utah.

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In this context, it is inevitable that the debate on the death penalty will return. “Especially when it comes to the most humane way to apply it”, comments the analyst Octavio Pescador.

And the phenomenon that arises is very similar to the others that take public opinion. “The political flanks are the same: Democrats against the practice and Republicans in favor”.

Polarization, therefore, also affects this debate.

The southern states, for example, are the only ones where the use of the electric chair is permissible.. But it is the failed lethal injections that cause the most controversy and, therefore, the ones that have polarized opinions the most.”, adds the expert.

Fisherman is not wrong. In October 2021, the 60-year-old African-American John Grant received it as a murder conviction. She thus became thefirst death of a prisoner in the last seven years” in Oklahoma.

But the plan went wrong.

The prisoner vomited and convulsed “two dozen times” before becoming unconscious and receiving a cocktail of drugs that ended his life”, reports the BBC.

similar situation lived Clayton Lockettwho also paid the same penalty in Oklahoma, only in April 2014. He “it took more than 40 minutes to die”.

The shot or the chair?

International Amnesty remember that, in the history of humanity, there have been various ways of applying the death penalty. Guillotine, cudgel or the electric chair. A key feature of these instruments is that they are limited.

On the contrary, one of the peculiarities of the execution is that it is carried out with an instrument of which there are thousands of copies: all societies have their infantry units equipped with rifles, under the orders of their respective officers.”, writes AI.

That explains that theexecutions are much more numerous than those of other execution systems”.

View of the Capital Punishment Facility, South Carolina. REUTERS (SCDOC/)

It is, says the organization, the “most common form of execution in military justice codes” and, in parallel, the “main form of execution of the civilian population by the military”. Wars, revolutions, uprisings, etc..

It is impossible not to think of Goya’s “The Executions of May 3”.

With the Electric Chair there is also controversy.

The BBC recalls the case of David Earl Miller -killer of a “23-year-old with mental illness, in 1981″-, who after 36 years in prison, paid the death penalty. But instead of agreeing to die by lethal injection, Miller asked for the chair.


Apparently, the injection means a “slow and painful death”.

Midazolam has been blamed for problematic executions in at least 7 states in the country, where those convicted have been slow to die and, before doing so, have shown visible signs of suffering”, writes the BBC.

It is a combination of three drugs.

The first, sodium thiopental or pentobarbital, puts a person to sleep. The second causes paralysis and the third stops the heart”.

But in recent years, the United States has faced a shortage of the first of the three drugs, as the manufacturing companies refuse to allow this product to be used for capital punishment.”.

Source: Elcomercio

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