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State Sen. Schaefer Requests Return of Gas Chamber

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File photo of a gas chamber. (credit: MIKE FIALA/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of a gas chamber. (credit: MIKE FIALA/AFP/Getty Images)

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - With the threat of losing the sedative propofol as a means for carrying out executions, one state senator thinks the governor should consider bringing back the gas chamber.

Missouri will move ahead with two planned executions despite efforts in Europe to block the common anesthetic from being used in the procedure, Gov. Jay Nixon said Monday.

The European Union has warned Missouri’s Department of Corrections that it could stop shipments of propofol if it is used for executions in the United States. Executions are prohibited in the EU and nearly all of the world’s supply of the powerful sedative is manufactured in Germany.

“It’s not discretionary for the governor to carry out a judgement of execution. It has to be done, it is the law and it’s not discretionary,” Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, said. “We’re not the federal government, we’re not going to pick and choose what laws we enforce and which ones we don’t.”

Schaefer says Gov. Nixon should consider using the gas chamber or other forms of execution if the supply of propofol is threatened. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster noted in July that Missouri statutes allow two options for executions: lethal injection and death by gas.

Less than a week after Koster’s remarks, Nixon and Missouri Director of Corrections George Lombardi were reluctant to discuss the idea.

“We don’t have a gas chamber,” Nixon said on July 10. “I don’t want to get into it. Once again, most of those issues involving it are part and parcel of what is going on in the courts about the various methods and I think it’s best handled by…we’ll just let the judicial branch deal with that.”

“I have no comment,” Lombardi said in early July. “Period.”

The Missouri Supreme Court has set a date of October 23 for the execution of Allen Nicklasson and a date of November 20 for the execution of Joseph Franklin.

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