Law: A New Executioner: The Needle

Death by injection is about to be tried at two state prisons

In a private museum in McAlester, Okla. (pop. 18,802) sits a large wooden chair, dusty and unvarnished. Between 1915 and 1980 the chair was a fixture at the state penitentiary a half-mile away, and the 82 convicts who sat in it during those years never got up; they were electrocuted. But in Oklahoma, Texas, Idaho and New Mexico, electric chairs—along with gallows and gas chambers—will soon give way to a far less forbidding piece of lethal equipment: the hypodermic needle. Next week at the prison in McAlester, a hard-drinking drifter...

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