Thursday, July 21, 2011

Seeking evidence that the lethal injection causes "needless suffering"

The last time a US execution was filmed was in California in 1992 as part of a challenge against the gas chamber. Now, another execution - this time in Georgia - has been recorded on video, at the request of an inmate there who's facing the death penalty. Lawyers for death row inmates in that state have argued that one of the three drugs Georgia uses in lethal injections, causes "needless suffering."

Andrew DeYoung was convicted of fatally stabbing his parents and his 14-year-old sister in 1993. A judge agreed to allowed his execution by lethal injection on Thursday evening to be videotaped at the request of Gregory Walker who's appealing his own death sentence. His lawyers say the recording will provide critical evidence about the effects of pento-barbital, one of the three drugs used in Georgia in lethal injections. They argue that the procedure doesn't adequately sedate the inmate and could cause pain and suffering.

Georgia state officials said the videotaping would interfere with security measures and they raised concerns about the potential for sensationalism and abuse of the video. The judge's order required that the tape be sealed.

The legal process will be lengthy - but this could mark the beginning of a process that could see death by lethal injection go the same way as the gas chamber.

BBC News: Georgia killer Andrew DeYoung's execution filmed