Senate to vote on amending state law on methods of execution

The measure has already passed in the House
Idaho State Capitol
Posted at 5:42 PM, Mar 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-14 19:46:21-04

House Bill 186, whose purpose is to amend existing law to provide execution by firing squad as an alternative to lethal injection when medicines are not available, was passed earlier this month by a vote of 50-15-5, and is currently awaiting a final vote in the Idaho Senate.

The bill was bought to the floor by Representative Bruce D. Skaug and is supported by Senator Doug Ricks.

Fiscally, the legislators believe this statute will not have a significant impact.

However, it will require an estimated $750,000 one-time cost for the Department of Correction to refurbish its facility to meet safety and execution requirements for the firing squad.

The stay of execution granted to Gerald Pizzuto, Jr. in December 2022 is the first example of a stay being granted because the state was unable to obtain the necessary medications. Pizzuto had been sentenced to death for beating two women to death in 1985.

RELATED | IDOC suspends execution of death row inmate Gerald Pizzuto

On February 24, Attorney General Raul Labrador obtained a new death warrant for Pizzuto, including language hoping "the legislature will also consider giving the State an alternative method of execution."

The bill to include a firing squad as alternate means passed in the House on March 3.

If the bill is also passed in the Senate and then signed into law by the Governor, it may impact several ongoing high-profile cases where the defendants, if convicted, could face the death penalty, including Lori and Chad Daybell or Bryan Kohberger.

RELATED | Prosecutors seek death penalty against Lori Vallow Daybell, ask judge to hold trials together

There are currently eight persons on death row in Idaho, including Pizzuto, whose sentence was again vacated on March 10.