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Firing squad one step away from being reinstated in Idaho

Scott Ki
Boise State Public Radio

State senators have signed off on bringing back the firing squad as a secondary method of execution.

Idaho currently only authorizes lethal injection, but state officials recently had to cancel an execution for convicted murderer Gerald Pizzuto because they couldn’t obtain the proper drugs.

Sen. Todd Lakey (R-Nampa) said the state needs an alternative to be able to ensure justice is served.

“Lethal injection is appropriate and lawful in Idaho, but it’s succumbed to the political pressure of outside entities that disagree with the death penalty,” Lakey said.

European pharmaceutical companies cracked down on the export of drugs used in lethal injections in the last decade over objections to state-sanctioned executions.

That’s led to problems in other states that have used more widely available drugs. Some of those protocols have led to some botched executions where death row inmates are writhing on a gurney.

A handful of other states have also reinstated or adopted death by firing squad as an alternative execution method to solve that problem.

But opponents of the effort here argue that shooting someone to death isn’t a humane or painless way to carry out an execution for the inmate or those involved.

“It’s psychologically damaging to anybody who witnesses it, anybody who has a hand in it, anybody who plays a role in the aftermath and the cleanup,” said Sen. Dan Foreman (R-Moscow), a retired police officer.

The bill has passed both chambers with a veto-proof majority and now goes to Gov. Brad Little’s desk for consideration.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

Copyright 2023 Boise State Public Radio

I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season.

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