Nebraska intends to carry-out an execution tomorrow morning. It will be the first execution in Nebraska in more than 20 years.
The recent history of the death penalty in Nebraska has been circuitous and chaotic, reflecting the deep divisions over the punishment that mark the U.S. as a whole. reported The Marshall Project.
Though many have been sentenced to death in the state, only three people have been executed there since the 1950s, all in an electric chair. In 2008, the state supreme court declared electrocutions to be “cruel and unusual punishment.” Nebraska’s legislature responded by changing the method to lethal injection, making it the last state in the U.S. to adopt this method.
But nobody was executed, and then in May 2015 the legislature voted to repeal the death penalty altogether. It surprised many to see a largely conservative state make this move, but many Republican legislators said they were swayed by the punishment’s high financial cost. Governor Pete Ricketts did not agree, and he vetoed the repeal. The legislature managed to override his veto, but only by a single vote.
Anti-death penalty activists celebrated, but the story still wasn’t over. Grassroots pro-capital punishment activists campaign began to collect signatures — at car insurance agencies, farm equipment dealers, and other storefronts — for a petition to revive the death penalty through a public vote. Gov. Ricketts donated to the campaign, and it prevailed. In November 2016, Nebraska voters decided to bring back executions.
And still nobody was executed. Finally, in 2018, the state began preparing to carry out its first ever lethal injection. Carey Dean Moore, the state’s longest serving death row inmate, had decided he would no longer fight his appeals. Nebraska officials had struggled to find lethal injection drugs, and they announced a never-before-used four-drug combination featuring the opioid fentanyl.
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