The state of Arizona will execute its death row inmates with the same gas used to massacre millions of Jews at concentration camps such as Auschwitz during World War II. The state’s Department of Corrections is said to have spent more than $2,000 to purchase materials needed to create the lethal gas including sulfuric acid and sodium hydroxide pellets. This follows a purchase of a solid brick of potassium cyanide in late 2020, according to The Guardian.
- Arizona has been “refurbishing” its gas chamber. The fact that the state even has gas chambers is horrific enough, but they’ve been disused for the past two decades (and rightfully so) and recently underwent some upgrades to make them usable again. It’s said that officials at ASPC-Florence went to “considerable lengths” to get the gas chamber up and running again and they even carried out tests last summer to make sure it could still be used, including but not limited to using candles to check for leakages, The Crime Report reveals.
- They even did a “test run” in the chambers. A smoke grenade was said to have been used to mimic the actual gas that would kill prisoners placed inside. It’s unclear what the results were, but given the state’s purchase of lethal gas materials, it seems it would be a success.
- The last person that was executed in the chamber was Walter LeGrand in 1999. According to eyewitness reports, he choked and gagged for 18 minutes before dying. “The witness room fell silent as a mist of gas rose, much like steam in a shower, and Walter LaGrand became enveloped in a cloud of cyanide vapor. He began coughing violently – three or four loud hacks – and made a gagging sound before falling forward,” a report at the time said.
- Arizona is ramping up its execution program in general. In October 2020, the state spent $1.5 million on a sedative drug it hopes to use on death row inmates as a lethal injection. Prisoners will choose between the injection and the gas chamber when it comes their time to die. It’s barbaric and inhumane, but Arizona is running with it.