US State Spends Thousands Of Dollars To Renovate Prison Death Chamber

 The state of Arizona has reportedly refurbished a gas chamber and has spent thousands of dollars on ingredients to make the same lethal gas that was used at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Arizona’s department of corrections purchased more than $2,000 worth of materials to make cyanide gas, the Guardian reported on Friday based on documents it obtained. The department purchased a brick of potassium cyanide for $1,530 in December. It also bought sodium hydroxide pellets and sulfuric acid that can be used to produce lethal gas.

The state’s gas chamber was built in 1949 and had not been used for 22 years. But the department recently ‘refurbished’ it, according to the Guardian. It is located at Arizona State Prison Complex in the city of Florence.

Arizona’s death penalty was suspended for seven years after a lethal injection went wrong in 2014. Joseph Wood took nearly two hours to die after he received an injection of 14 doses of a mix of drugs that were not widely used at the time. But the Republican-led state has pushed to restart its execution system in recent months.

State officials conducted a series of tests last August to assess the ‘operability’ of the chamber. The tests included making sure the doors and windows were airtight and that the drains were not blocked. A smoke grenade was used in place of gas and water instead of deadly chemicals.

The last time Arizona executed a person through lethal gassing was in 1999, when Walter LeGrand of Germany was sentenced to death for an armed bank robbery with a man murdered. LaGrand appeared to experience ‘agonizing choking and gagging’ and was dying for 18 minutes.

Arizona has two inmates of the 115 in death row lined up to be the first to be executed. The inmates are Frank Atwood, 65, given the death sentence for killing an 8-year-old girl, and Clarence Dixon, who was convicted of murdering a college student.

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