Death Row Inmate Wants Firing Squad Execution As Lethal Injection Could Be Too Painful
A death row inmate in the US wants to be executed by firing squad as a lethal injection could be 'excruciatingly painful' for him.
Michael Wade Nance was sentenced to death in Gwinnett County, Georgia, in 2002 for fatally shooting 43-year-old Gabor Balogh.
Nance had robbed a bank and was looking for a getaway car on 18 December 1993; when Balogh resisted giving up his vehicle, Nance shot and killed him.
Now, Nance has sued Georgia's prison system, claiming his veins are too narrow for him to receive a lethal injection, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Nance's lawsuit describes his veins as 'severely compromised' and difficult to locate, meaning the intravenously-injected drug phenobarbital could leak into his surrounding tissue, resulting in a 'prolonged execution that will produce excruciating pain'.
Nance has also been using drugs to tackle chronic back pain for several years and these could reduce the effectiveness of phenobarbital, which could again increase the chances of him enduring prolonged pain, the suit claims.
The suit reads: "Execution by firing squad is both swift and virtually painless.
"Evidence and recent experience strongly suggest that the firing squad is significantly more reliable than lethal injection."
When asked about the lawsuit on Friday, Gwinnett District Attorney Danny Porter described it as 'unique'.
According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, he said: "If he needs a firing squad, then let him have it. It's certainly a unique request."
A lower-court previously threw out Nance's death sentence on the grounds that his lawyers were ineffective during the sentencing phase of the trial, however, the ruling was overturned and his death sentence was reinstated in 2013.
The last death by firing squad in the state of Georgia was carried out in 1924, after which point the electric chair was brought in, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
In 2001, the Supreme Court ruled that the electric chair was unconstitutional and the state has been using lethal injection ever since. Prior to 1976, Georgia had carried out 950 executions, the fourth-highest number of any state in the US.
The last execution by firing squad in the US occurred in 2010 in Utah, where the method of capital punishment is still permitted. Mississippi and Oklahoma are the only other states that allow the use of firing squads, though lethal injection is the primary method of execution.
Featured Image Credit: Georgia Department of Corrections