That's the title of an article in the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle by Cary Snyder. LINK
It has been 16 years since a government-sponsored execution was carried out in Wyoming.
In the early morning hours of Jan. 22, 1992, Mark Hopkinson was injected with a lethal dose of chemicals as his punishment for masterminding four murders in the 1970s, a somewhat unusual fate because he did not actually carry out the killings.
With a small population that equates into few death-penalty-eligible crimes being committed, executions are few and far between in Wyoming. Before the 42-year-old Hopkinson, the last execution in the state was in the 1960s.
The debate surrounding the inherent justice of the death penalty is getting renewed interest nationally after the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments earlier this month about the constitutionality of the lethal injections Kentucky uses to kill inmates.
Two death row inmates sued Kentucky in 2004 claiming that the state’s lethal injection process is cruel and unusual punishment because it can inflict unnecessary pain and suffering.
Should the high court side with the inmates, Wyoming may have to change its method of execution, and the state could see another execution within the next few years.
Wyoming does not have a designated death row, a separate area of a prison that houses those who have been sentenced to die, but it does have a backup execution method on the books should lethal injection be deemed unconstitutional. In that event, state law provides for the administration of lethal gas to be used for executions.
Since Wyoming uses lethal injection, the state is not required to have a designated execution chamber used exclusively for that purpose, said Melinda Brazzale, spokeswoman for the Wyoming Department of Corrections.
If an execution does occur, the state will use its parole board meeting room at the state prison in Rawlins, Brazzale said. She described the room as having a small seating area outside of the room that would allow some spectators to watch an execution.
“I’ve been in it numerous times, and it’s just a big meeting room,” she said.
The room is part of the new section of the state prison that Brazzale said opened in 2001 after the existing facility built in 1980 was deemed structurally unsound.
Should the state ever switch to using lethal gas in executions, plans would have to be made to accommodate a gas chamber because the state does not currently have such a facility, Brazzale said.