Oklahoma To Resume Executions

Wednesday, April 16th 2008, 9:56 pm
By: News On 6

A new Supreme Court ruling clears the way for Oklahoma to resume executions.  The News On 6's Ashli Sims reports that means two convicted Oklahoma killers could be put to death.

The nation's highest court ruled seven to two in a decision upholding death by lethal injection.  Oklahoma's attorney general says he's pleased, but not surprised.  Now, two executions that were on hold are moving forward.

Terry Short and Kevin Young were scheduled to die, but a constitutional question granted them a temporary reprieve.  At issue, the three drug cocktail used in lethal injections.  Two Kentucky death row inmates sued all the way to the Supreme Court, claiming the procedure violated constitutional protections from cruel and unusual punishment.

Lawyers argued if all three drugs don't work or if the injection is bungled it could cause unnecessary pain.

"If that's the standard then just try to think of a method of execution that didn't have some risk of pain. And, you won't be able to think of one," said Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson.

The Supreme Court decided that lethal injection is legal because it's not meant to inflict pain.

"I can't imagine a form of execution more humane than by lethal injection," said Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson.

Now, Attorney General Edmondson says the wheels of justice can move forward.

"I was grateful that we could get our cases, the two cases that have been held up, off high center and apply for execution dates," said Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson.

Edmondson says Terry Short and Kevin Young could be executed by late June or early July.

The first lethal injection was given in the state in 1990.  A total of 86 Oklahoma prisoners have been killed, using the procedure.