Virginia Changes Execution Protocol

Execution witnesses in Virginia will see less of the proceedings after changes the Virginia Department of Corrections made to its execution manual.

The changes appear, in part, to have been made in response to issues that arose during the Jan. 18 execution of Ricky Gray, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.

The new protocol calls for a curtain in the execution chamber to be drawn prior to the inmate being escorted inside. The curtain will only be opened when the IV lines are in place.

Corrections spokeswoman Lisa Kinney says keeping the curtain closed will reduce stress on the staff placing the lines, which will make the process go more quickly.

However, Robin Konrad of the Death Penalty Information Center says the changes are in response to a question of why it took longer than normal to insert the IV lines for Gray's execution.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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