Republican attorney general backing push for nitrogen gas executions in Ohio

Ohio Republican Attorney General Dave Yost is backing the push for nitrogen gas execution in his state following Alabama’s execution using the method last week.

Yost voiced his support for a bill introduced by two Republican state representatives that would give inmates a choice to get nitrogen gas or a lethal injection. If the lethal injection is not accessible, they would still be executed using nitrogen hypoxia.

During a Tuesday press conference, Yost supported the legislation introduced by Republican state Reps. Phil Plummer and Brian Stewart and expressed confidence that the abundance of nitrogen gas would make for a possible transition to the method for the Buckeye State, according to the Associated Press.

Ohio would be the second state to use the method to execute inmates after Alabama became the first state to do so when it put to death Kenneth Smith at the William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Ala., last week. Smith was executed for his role in the 1988 murder-for-hire of Elizabeth Sennet.

Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner John Hamm told reporters after that the execution began at 7:53 p.m. CST and that Smith was dead by 8:25 p.m. CST.

While the White House was “deeply troubled” by the execution, Alabama’s Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) praised the action, saying that “justice has been served.”

Like Marshall, Yost previously also showed support for the method. The last time Ohio executed someone was in 2018 when Robert Van Hook was executed by lethal injection for stabbing a man at a bar in 1985.

Ohio lawmakers, from both sides, have pushed in the past to abolish the death penalty in the state. In March last year, state senators pushed to end capital punishment, citing the financial strain on the state’s taxpayers, dilemmas over executing an innocent person and lack of lethal injections.

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