Monday, July 19, 2004

If you were on death row in Nevada...this would be what your last day would look like...
The highlights, from the AP...  (reg. req.)
Nevada executions follow precise procedures
BRENDAN RILEYAssociated Press

CARSON CITY - Unless Terry Jess Dennis asks for a last-minute stay, the condemned inmate will be led through a submarine-type door into the Nevada State Prison's death chamber and be executed at 9 p.m. Thursday.

Dennis will have already had his final meal, coffee, cigarettes or a cigar if he wants in a "last night" cell just outside the half-century-old death chamber.

Before his last meal, Dennis will be able to send out letters and make final phone calls. He might choose to give away his personal items to other inmates.

The condemned man can receive visits by the chaplain, warden or prison director. Dennis' brother already visited him, and no other family members are expected.

Dennis has requested a set of clean prison denims, and has asked for cigarettes during his final days, prison spokesman Fritz Schlottman said.

To guard against suicide attempts, a "death watch" guard keeps an eye on the convict at all times. Dennis can't have any electrical items, such as a radio or television, in his cell although they can be placed in the corridor just outside the cell.

A few hours before the execution, Dennis will be given a sedative to relax him and discourage any last-minute resistance.

About half an hour before the execution deadline, Dennis will be brought into a 9-by-12-foot, beige-painted room. There he will be strapped to a gurney with eight automobile seat belts. If he can't or won't walk to the death room, guards will carry him in.

While lying on the gurney, Dennis will be able to see two bare light bulbs and the old exhaust pipe that was used to fill the room with cyanide gas until the Legislature discontinued the practice in 1983. If he turns his head, Dennis will see a heart monitor.

Through a three-panel window on his right he can see the nine witnesses who are required by law to watch his execution, plus a dozen or so other witnesses who will stand in a 13-by-20-foot viewing room.

Behind him, a one-way mirror hides the faces of two prison employees in a closet-sized "executioners" room." Unless the red phone outside the death chamber brings last-minute legal relief, the prison workers will pump three injections through tubes running out of the wall and into the prisoner's veins.
The first is an overdose of a "downer" that can cause death. Another stops breathing, and a third stops the heart.

A few minutes later if all has gone as scheduled, a doctor will pronounce Dennis dead.

Window shades on the death chamber windows will be pulled down, the needles removed from his arm, and the body transported to a mortuary.