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La. lawmaker calls for electric chair given drug shortage - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

La. lawmaker calls for return to the electric chair given lethal injection drug shortage

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RUSTON, La. -

Louisiana Department of Corrections delayed Christopher Sepulvado's Feb. 5 execution date for 90 days after lawyers for the condemned challenged the state's planned drug cocktail of hydromorphone and midazolam.

The same combination created controversy and drew criticism after its first use in January. Ohio inmate Dennis McGuire's execution lasted more than 25 minutes and witnesses reported that McGuire struggled to breathe for 10 minutes.

Related article: Ohio killer executed with new lethal drug combo

Many lethal injection states are struggling to find appropriate and proven drugs. Many chemical manufacturers are reluctant to fill orders destined for the execution table.

Media outlets report La. Rep. Joseph Lopito (R-Jefferson Parish) expect to file legislation this year in order to return to using the electric chair, a practice abandoned in 1991.

After 25 years working with Louisiana death row inmates and witnessing their executions, Sister Helen Prejean, author of "Dead Man Walking," says calling lethal injection, the electric chair or any other method of execution "humane capital punishment" is a misnomer.

"There is no humane way to kill a conscious, imaginative human being," Prejean said. "You anticipate your dying. You imagine it. You die a thousand deaths before you die."

Representative Barbara Norton sits on the House Committee on Administration Of Criminal Justice. She tells KTBS she wants to look at all options and work with prison officials before putting support behind any one particular execution method.

Christopher Sepulvado was convicted two decades ago for the 1st degree murder of his young stepson, Wesley Allen Mercer.

A federal judge will hear arguments from Sepulvado attorney's on the constitutionality to the state's execution method April 7.

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