A trial is scheduled to take place to determine the constitutionality of the current form of killing by lethal injection.
Two death row inmates in the US state of Oklahoma are petitioning a judge to allow a firing squad as an alternative to lethal injection, arguing it would be quicker and have less room for error than the current mode of execution.
Donald Anthony Grant, who murdered two people during a 2001 robbery, and Gilbert Ray Postelle, who murdered four people in a 2005 shooting while high on methamphetamine, have appealed to US District Judge Stephen Friot to delay their executions until a trial can determine whether lethal injection is a constitutional form of killing death row inmates.
According to AP, a trial on the matter is set to take place on February 28. However, Grant and Postelle are due to be executed weeks before on January 27 and February 17 respectively.
Both men were denied clemency last year.
Attorney Jim Stronski told the judge that while a firing squad “may be gruesome to look at, we all agree it will be quicker.” Though Judge Friot said there was “a lot” for him to get his “mind around,” he suggested that a decision would be made by the end of the week.
Experts involved with the appeal have claimed that death by firing squad would be either completely or almost painless and have less room for error than lethal injection, which has led to several cases of excruciating executions.
John Marion Grant, another Oklahoma death row inmate who was executed last year, “began convulsing about two dozen times” during his execution by lethal injection and vomited on his own face before he was eventually pronounced dead around 21 minutes after the first injection.
In 2014, Amherst College Professor Austin Sarat revealed that the rate of botched lethal injections was 7% higher than other forms of execution.
Similar cases have been used to argue in favor of alternative methods of execution, such as the firing squad, which was widely used in the US before lethal injection became the default option in all 27 states that still use capital punishment. A moratorium on executions has been in effect in California, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.