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Punishment or Murder
Published on March 17, 2005 By we_one In International
First Interactive TV, now the Interactive Execution
Well, it's the other way round, actually. Interactive executions came first.

It works like this. If the person is being executed for murder, and you are a close relative of the victim, you can pardon the murderer and opt for "blood money" instead. And you can do that at any point up to the swing of the sword blade.

Last-Minute Pardon Saves Youth From Executioner’s Sword

TABUK, 28 March 2004 — The execution of a murderer was averted with only moments to spare in the crowded execution square here, according to a local press report.

The executioner was about to do his duty when the father of the murder victim, Ayed ibn Muhammad Sabr, shouted at police to stop the execution of Abdul Kareem Al-Ghoraid, 20, because he forgave him.

The killer had spent five years in prison, where he memorized the Qur’an.

Joy and tears mingled as the family of Abdul Kareem prayed for the father and thanked him for forgiving their son.


Timing is everything. Too early and you don't get enough tension built up and released. Too late...and it could be too late.

Seeking a more humane method of execution than hanging, New York built the first electric chair in 1888 and executed William Kemmler in 1890. Soon, other states adopted this execution method. The electric chair was used in 2003, for the execution of Earl Conrad Bramblett in Virginia. He had elected this method.
Description: For execution by the electric chair, the person is usually shaved and strapped to a chair with belts that cross his chest, groin, legs, and arms. A metal skullcap-shaped electrode is attached to the scalp and forehead over a sponge moistened with saline. The sponge must not be too wet or the saline short-circuits the electric current, and not too dry, as it would then have a very high resistance. An additional electrode is moistened with conductive jelly (Electro-Creme) and attached to a portion of the prisoner's leg that has been shaved to reduce resistance to electricity. The prisoner is then blindfolded. (Hillman, 1992 and Weisberg, 1991)
After the execution team has withdrawn to the observation room, the warden signals the executioner, who pulls a handle to connect the power supply. A jolt of between 500 and 2000 volts, which lasts for about 30 seconds, is given. The current surges and is then turned off, at which time the body is seen to relax. The doctors wait a few seconds for the body to cool down and then check to see if the inmate's heart is still beating. If it is, another jolt is applied. This process continues until the prisoner is dead. The prisoner's hands often grip the chair and there may be violent movement of the limbs which can result in dislocation or fractures. The tissues swell. Defecation occurs. Steam or smoke rises and there is a smell of burning. (Hillman, 1992 and Weisberg, 1991)
US Supreme Court Justice William Brennan once offered the following description of an execution by electric chair:
..the prisoner's eyeballs sometimes pop out and rest on [his] cheeks. The prisoner often defecates, urinates, and vomits blood and drool. The body turns bright red as its temperature rises, and the prisoner's flesh swells and his skin stretches to the point of breaking. Sometimes the prisoner catches fire.... Witnesses hear a loud and sustained sound like bacon frying, and the sickly sweet smell of burning flesh permeates the chamber. (Ecenbarger, 1994)At postmortem, the body is hot enough to blister if touched, and the autopsy is delayed while the internal organs cool. There are third degree burns with blackening where the electrodes met the skin of the scalp and legs. According to Robert H. Kirschner, the deputy chief medical examiner of Cook County, "The brain appears cooked in most cases." (Weisberg, 1991)



In 2003 executions by shooting were carried out in Chad (9), China (number unknown), Uganda (3), Vietnam (52), and Yemen (3 reported, but almost certainly more). 2 female executions were recorded in China for murder. Shooting is used by 69 or so countries and is the sole method in around 42 of them. Chinese shootings are carried out by a single bullet to the back of the head.

Description: For execution by this method, the inmate is typically bound to a chair with leather straps across his waist and head, in front of an oval-shaped canvas wall. The chair is surrounded by sandbags to absorb the inmate's blood. A black hood is pulled over the inmate's head. A doctor locates the inmate's heart with a stethoscope and pins a circular white cloth target over it. Standing in an enclosure 20 feet away, five shooters are armed with .30 caliber rifles loaded with single rounds. One of the shooters is given blank rounds. Each of the shooters aims his rifle through a slot in the canvas and fires at the inmate. (Weisberg, 1991)

The prisoner dies as a result of blood loss caused by rupture of the heart or a large blood vessel, or tearing of the lungs. The person shot loses consciousness when shock causes a fall in the supply of blood to the brain. If the shooters miss the heart, by accident or intention, the prisoner bleeds to death slowly. (Hillman, 1992 and Weisberg, 1991)


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Electric Chair

Seeking a more humane method of execution than hanging, New York built the first electric chair in 1888 and executed William Kemmler in 1890. Soon, other states adopted this execution method. The electric chair was used in 2003, for the execution of Earl Conrad Bramblett in Virginia. He had elected this method.
Description: For execution by the electric chair, the person is usually shaved and strapped to a chair with belts that cross his chest, groin, legs, and arms. A metal skullcap-shaped electrode is attached to the scalp and forehead over a sponge moistened with saline. The sponge must not be too wet or the saline short-circuits the electric current, and not too dry, as it would then have a very high resistance. An additional electrode is moistened with conductive jelly (Electro-Creme) and attached to a portion of the prisoner's leg that has been shaved to reduce resistance to electricity. The prisoner is then blindfolded. (Hillman, 1992 and Weisberg, 1991)
After the execution team has withdrawn to the observation room, the warden signals the executioner, who pulls a handle to connect the power supply. A jolt of between 500 and 2000 volts, which lasts for about 30 seconds, is given. The current surges and is then turned off, at which time the body is seen to relax. The doctors wait a few seconds for the body to cool down and then check to see if the inmate's heart is still beating. If it is, another jolt is applied. This process continues until the prisoner is dead. The prisoner's hands often grip the chair and there may be violent movement of the limbs which can result in dislocation or fractures. The tissues swell. Defecation occurs. Steam or smoke rises and there is a smell of burning. (Hillman, 1992 and Weisberg, 1991)
US Supreme Court Justice William Brennan once offered the following description of an execution by electric chair:
..the prisoner's eyeballs sometimes pop out and rest on [his] cheeks. The prisoner often defecates, urinates, and vomits blood and drool. The body turns bright red as its temperature rises, and the prisoner's flesh swells and his skin stretches to the point of breaking. Sometimes the prisoner catches fire.... Witnesses hear a loud and sustained sound like bacon frying, and the sickly sweet smell of burning flesh permeates the chamber. (Ecenbarger, 1994)At postmortem, the body is hot enough to blister if touched, and the autopsy is delayed while the internal organs cool. There are third degree burns with blackening where the electrodes met the skin of the scalp and legs. According to Robert H. Kirschner, the deputy chief medical examiner of Cook County, "The brain appears cooked in most cases." (Weisberg, 1991)

Gas Chamber


Description: For execution by this method, the condemned person is strapped to a chair in an airtight chamber. Below the chair rests a pail of sulfuric acid. A long stethoscope is typically affixed to the inmate so that a doctor outside the chamber can pronounce death. Once everyone has left the chamber, the room is sealed. The warden then gives a signal to the executioner who flicks a lever that releases crystals of sodium cyanide into the pail. This causes a chemical reaction that releases hydrogen cyanide gas. (Weisberg, 1991)

The prisoner is instructed to breathe deeply to speed up the process. Most prisoners, however, try to hold their breath, and some struggle. The inmate does not lose consciousness immediately. According to former San Quenton, California, Penitentiary warden, Clifton Duffy, "At first there is evidence of extreme horror, pain, and strangling. The eyes pop. The skin turns purple and the victim begins to drool." (Weisberg, 1991)

Caryl Chessman, before he died in California's gas chamber in 1960 told reporters that he would nod his head if it hurt. Witnesses said he nodded his head for several minutes. (Ecenbarger, 1994) According to Dr. Richard Traystman of John Hopkins University School of Medicine, "The person is unquestionably experiencing pain and extreme anxiety...The sensation is similar to the pain felt by a person during a heart attack, where essentially the heart is being deprived of oxygen." The inmate dies from hypoxia, the cutting-off of oxygen to the brain. (Weisberg, 1991)

At postmortem, an exhaust fan sucks the poison air out of the chamber, and the corpse is sprayed with ammonia to neutralize any remaining traces of cyanide. About a half an hour later, orderlies enter the chamber, wearing gas masks and rubber gloves. Their training manual advises them to ruffle the victim's hair to release any trapped cyanide gas before removing the deceased.
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hanging

HANGING Procedure: Prior to any execution, the gallows area trap door and release mechanisms are inspected for proper operation. The rope, which is of manila hemp of at least 3/4"and not more than 1 1/4"in diameter and approximately 30 feet in length, is soaked and then stretched while drying to eliminate any spring, stiffness, or tendency to coil. The hangman's knot, which is tied pursuant to military regulations, is treated with wax, soap, or clear oil, to ensure that the rope slides smoothly through the knot. The end of the rope which does not contain the noose is tied to a grommet in the ceiling and then is tied off to a metal T_shaped bracket, which takes the force delivered by the offender's drop. Additionally, prior to an execution, the condemned offender's file is reviewed to determine if there are any unusual characteristics the offender possesses that might warrant deviation from field instructions on hanging. A physical examination and measuring process is conducted to assure almost instant death and a minimum of bruising. If careful measuring and planning is not done, strangulation, obstructed blood flow, or beheading could result. At the appropriate time on execution day, the inmate, in restraints, is escorted to the gallows area and is placed standing over a hinged trap door from which the offender will be dropped. Following the offender's last statement, a hood is placed over the offender's head. Restraints are also applied. If the offender refuses to stand or cannot stand, he is placed on a collapse board. A determination of the proper amount of the drop of the condemned offender through the trap door is calculated using a standard military execution chart for hanging. The "drop" must be based on the prisoner's weight, to deliver 1260 foot_pounds of force to the neck. The noose is then placed snugly around the convict's neck, behind his or her left ear, which will cause the neck to snap. The trap door then opens, and the convict drops. If properly done, death is caused by dislocation of the third and fourth cervical vertebrae, or by asphyxiation. A button mechanically releases the trap door and escorts then move to the lower floor location to assist in the removal of the offender's body. (See Washington Execution Procedures). History: Hanging is the oldest method of execution in the United States, but fell into disfavor in the 20th century after many botched attempts, and was replaced by electrocution as the most common method. There have been only 3 executions by hanging since 1977: Westley Dodd (WA 1993), Charles Campbell (WA 1994), and Billy Bailey (DE 1998). Current Application: Only 3 states, Delaware, New Hampshire, and Washington, currently authorize hanging as a method of execution, all as an alternative to lethal injection, depending upon the choice of the inmate, whether injection is “impractical, or the possibility of lethal injection being held unconstitutional. As of June 1, 2004, 3 of 912 executions (0.3%) performed since 1976 have been by hanging.

Lethal Injection

LETHAL INJECTION Procedure: State statutes typically provide: "The punishment of death must be inflicted by continuous, intravenous administration of a lethal quantity of an ultrashort-acting barbiturate in combination with a chemical paralytic agent until death is pronounced by a licensed physician according to accepted standards of medical practice." The execution protocol for most jurisdictions authorizes the use of a combination of three drugs. The first, sodium thiopental or sodium pentothal, is a barbiturate that renders the prisoner unconscious. The second, pancuronium bromide, is a muscle relaxant that paralyzes the diaphragm and lungs. The third, potassium chloride, causes cardiac arrest. Each chemical is lethal in the amounts administered. The inmate is escorted into the execution chamber and is strapped onto a gurney with ankle and wrist restraints. The inmate is connected to a cardiac monitor which is connected to a printer outside the execution chamber. An IV is started in two usable veins, one in each arm, and a flow of normal saline solution is administered at a slow rate. One line is held in reserve in case of a blockage or malfunction in the other. At the warden’s signal, 5.0 grams of sodium pentothal (in 20 cc of diluent) is administered, then the line is flushed with sterile normal saline solution. This is followed by 50 cc of pancuronium bromide, a saline flush, and finally, 50 cc of potassium chloride. (See California Execution Procedures). The most common problem encountered is collapsing veins and the inability to properly insert the IV. Some states allow for a Thorazine or sedative injection to facilitate IV insertion. History: Lethal injection had first been proposed as a means of execution in 1888 when New York considered it but ultimately opted for electrocution. In 1977, Oklahoma became the first state to adopt lethal injection. Texas performed the first execution by lethal injection in 1982 with the execution of Charlie Brooks. Current Application: 17 states and the federal government authorize lethal injection as the sole method of execution. 20 other states provide for lethal injection as the primary method of execution, but provide alternative methods depending upon the choice of the inmate, the date of the execution or sentence, or the possibility of the method being held unconstitutional. As of June1 2004, 744 of 912 executions (82%) performed since 1976 have been by lethal injection, including 258 of the last 261 execution


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