The Daily Telegraph

Nitrogen to be used for US execution for the first time

- By Josie Ensor

ALABAMA is preparing to carry out the execution of a triple killer by an untried method using nitrogen gas.

Next week, the state is planning to administer the gas, which causes loss of consciousn­ess and death when inhaled, to Alan Eugene Miller, who was convicted of the 1999 workplace shootings of Lee Holdbrooks, Scott Yancy and Terry Jarvis.

Prosecutor­s said Miller killed Holdbrooks and Yancy at one business and then drove to another location to shoot Jarvis. Each man was shot several times.

Nitrogen hypoxia has been authorised for executions by Alabama and two other states but is yet to be used.

The nitrogen could either be supplied via a medical-grade oxygen tent placed around the head or a face mask similar to those used by firefighte­rs.

James Houts, a deputy state attorney general in Alabama, told US District Judge Austin Huffaker Jr that it was “very likely” the method would be available for the execution of Miller, due to take place on Sept 22, if the judge blocks the use of a lethal injection.

Lethal injection is Alabama’s primary execution method but in 2018 the state approved nitrogen hypoxia amid disquiet over lethal injections.

Lawmakers theorised that death by nitrogen hypoxia could be a simpler and more humane method of execution, but critics have likened use of an untested method to human experiment­ation.

Miller testified that he returned a state form confirming nitrogen hypoxia was his preferred method of execution.

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