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Alabama committee votes to allow nitrogen executions

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama moved closer to allowing death row inmates to be executed with nitrogen gas, a method that has so far never been used.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the bill Wednesday on an 11-1 vote. It now moves to the full Senate.

Sen. Trip Pittman, the bill sponsor, says nitrogen hypoxia could be a painless way to put a person to death that is more humane than lethal injection or electric chair. The Montrose Republican said Alabama needs another execution method as lethal injection methods face legal challenges.

However, no state has used nitrogen gas in an execution.

Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, said only two states — Oklahoma and Mississippi — conditionally authorize the use of nitrogen gas as a back-up method of execution.

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