AG says state may have to use gas chamber

Wednesday, July 3, 2013 | 8:23 a.m. CDT

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Attorney General Chris Koster says Missouri may have to resort to using the gas chamber to carry out death sentences as an "unintended consequence" of the state Supreme Court's refusal to set execution dates.

Executions have been on hold in Missouri since the state Supreme Court has declined to set execution dates. The court says execution dates would be "premature" until a federal legal challenge is resolved regarding the use of the drug propofol as Missouri's new execution method.

Koster told The Kansas City Star on Tuesday that if the court doesn't change course, the legislature may have to fund alternative execution methods. The only execution methods authorized in Missouri are lethal gas and injection.

Koster says the gas chamber may be the last option to enforce state law.


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Ed Lane July 3, 2013 | 2:12 p.m.

Just get it done!!!!!!!!!!! These things hang on for years milking the system - hell they live better than a lot of people, to include our homeless and poor families.

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Dan Everson July 3, 2013 | 3:54 p.m.

Propofol faces scrutiny for good reason: It might constitute cruel and unusual punishment. (
So why resort to a gas chamber, which we know can cause tremendous pain and which is, therefore, "effectively considered to be cruel and unusual punishment"? (

It may be a shame that our homeless are worse off than our prisoners. But that does not mean we should rush to kill the prisoners. Both the homeless and the prisoners are worthy of basic human respect and dignity.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams July 3, 2013 | 4:42 p.m.

Well, having had propofol during a routine surgery, I'm shocked at the claim it causes pain and suffering....even at 15X the normal dose. I didn't even make it to 96 counting backwards and everything was as smooth as silk.

Even better, once I woke up there was NO fuzziness or disorientation. I was able to listen, understand, and REMEMBER all post-op instructions....immediately. I was ready to go right then and there, and the doctor told me this was one of the great benefits of propofol.

Of course, with the particular use noted in this article, the "waking up" part doesn't really apply.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking July 4, 2013 | 4:45 a.m.

The disadvantage of propofol as a euthanasia agent is it's quite short acting. Unless some other agent(s) is used to ensure death, it is an unreliable agent by itself. I can name a half dozen drugs off the top of my head that would work as well or better than propofol.

All the wrangling over what drug to use is a distraction from the true debate, which is whether to have a death penalty in the first place. I will say that practically, a death sentence and a life term are often pretty much the same thing, and I doubt whether death is really a deterrent to capital crimes. But if we're going to do it, there are many good agents to use and which one should not be an issue.


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