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Anniversary of First Death Row Lethal Injection

Death Row Cell
Getty Images, photo by Justin Sullivan

Today, December 7th, 1982 was the first execution by lethal injection. At the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Alabama, Charles Brooks Jr. was put to death for the murder of an auto mechanic using a three phase injection to assure his death. The combination of sodium thiopental, causes the prisoner to lose consciousness,  pancuronium bromide which paralyses the lungs and the final injection is potassium chloride which causes cardiac arrest and assures the convict is dead.

Before lethal injections the method of execution was hanging, electrocution or gas. After the first lethal injection 32 states, the federal government and the military adopted the injection method of putting a person to death. In lesser doses sodium pentothal is known as a ‘truth serum’, but in larger doses it can be deadly.

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