Tuesday, April 23, 2002


Alabama Poised to Change Death Penalty Method
Tue Apr 23, 5:25 PM ET

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (Reuters) - Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman plans to sign a bill changing the state's primary method of execution to lethal injection, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday. The move would leave Nebraska as the only state still relying on the electric chair.

The Alabama legislature passed a bill last week that calls for lethal injection to be used in all executions after July 1, unless a condemned inmate specifically requests to die in the chair.

Siegelman, a Democrat who supports the death penalty, favored the switch to lethal injection, partly out of concerns that U.S. courts could eventually rule that the use of the electric chair was unconstitutional.

In October, 2001, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that the electric chair inflicted needless physical pain on inmates and ordered Georgia authorities to switch to lethal injection for future executions.

Georgia has executed six inmates since adopting lethal injection. Alabama's next execution is scheduled for May 10, when Lynda Lyon Block is due to die in the electric chair for the 1993 murder of a police officer. Block would be the first woman executed in Alabama since 1957.