LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) – A lawmaker whose 12-year-old daughter was murdered by a man now on death row said Thursday that she will work to make the firing squad a legal execution method in Arkansas because court challenges have stalled efforts to resume the death penalty using lethal injections.
Republican Rep. Rebecca Petty of Rogers said she was spurred to introduce a proposal aimed at resuming executions after a state Senate committee on Wednesday advanced a bill to eliminate the death penalty as a sentencing option in capital murder cases. That bill to eliminate the death penalty is unlikely to clear the GOP-dominated Senate or House.
“It felt like a slap in the face,” she said of the legislative action to eliminate the death penalty.
The death penalty is legal in Arkansas and there are 32 inmates on death row. But the state hasn’t executed anyone since 2005 due to ongoing legal challenges over lethal injection protocol. Capital punishment is authorized in 32 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Similar bills to allow firing squad executions are being considered by the Utah and Wyoming legislatures and Oklahoma lawmakers are considering legislation that would allow that state to use nitrogen gas to execute inmates. Petty said she will look at what is working in other states to help fill in the details of her legislation.