A United Church of Christ minister told News 2 the botched execution in Oklahoma could happen in Tennessee.
“This horrific kind of torture that you saw in Oklahoma, which we will see in Tennessee if we continue down the path that Oklahoma does,” said Joe Ingle.
An Oklahoma death row inmate put to death Tuesday had a heart attack after being administered a three-ingredient “cocktail” containing a mixture of a paralytic, an anesthetic and potassium chloride.
“They don’t know who’s making the process of the drugs. They don’t know if the drugs are any good and they’re protected from accountability because there’s a secrecy law,” said Ingle.
Ingredients for lethal injections have become hard to find. Tennessee legislators recently passed a bill that would bring back the electric chair if the chemicals could not be found.
Ingle told News 2 the unavailability of the chemicals has resulted in some states turning to the black market.
“You have places like the state of Georgia, contracting with a guy who’s making the drugs in a garage in London, England. What happened in Oklahoma can happen in Tennessee. We have the same law, the same drug protocol,” said Ingle.
H continued, “They’re not going through a pharmacy to make these drugs. They’re going through a compounder, someone who’s mixing this stuff on their own. We have no idea if that person is qualified to mix those drugs.”
Tennessee last executed an inmate in 2009. Cecil Johnson was executed by lethal injection. He was convicted of three counts of first degree murder and spent 28 years on Death Row after committing the crimes while robbing a Nashville convenience store.
He was the sixth person to be put to death in Tennessee since 2000.
The state has 11 executions planned for the next 18 months.
The house legislation to re-institute the electric chair sits on Governor Bill Haslam’s desk.
The electric chair was last used in 2007 when Daryl Horton was executed. He had the choice of death by lethal injection or the electric chair.
Billy Irick is scheduled for execution in October.
Currently there are 75 people on Tennessee’s Death Row.