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Idaho bill would bring back execution by firing squad

caption: The Idaho State Capitol building in Boise.
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The Idaho State Capitol building in Boise.
Colleen Benelli / Flickr

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho could bring back firing squads as a method of execution under legislation introduced by a panel of lawmakers Wednesday.

The state eliminated its never-used firing squad option in 2009, but has been unable to secure the drugs needed for lethal injection executions. Only Mississippi, Utah, Oklahoma and South Carolina currently have laws allowing firing squads if other execution methods are unavailable, but a judge has put South Carolina’s law on hold until a lawsuit challenging the method is resolved.

In the bill sponsored by Idaho Rep. Bruce Skaug, a Republican from Nampa, firing squads would be used when lethal injection isn’t available. Skaug noted that the state canceled the planned execution of Gerald Pizzuto Jr. late last year after Idaho Department of Correction officials said they were unable to get the chemicals needed for lethal injection.

Pizzuto has spent more than three decades on death row for his role in the 1985 slayings of two gold prospectors.

“The way it stands now, they may never get those materials for the lethal injections,” Skaug told the House Ways and Means committee. “This is a rule of law issue: Our criminal system should work and our penalty should be exacted.”

By Rebecca Boone, Associated Press

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