The Virginia electric chair is shown in this 1991 file photo taken in Greensville, Va.
Photo by Bruce Parker/Richmond Times-Dispatch/AP

Virginia pols vote to force prisoners to electric chair

Virginia lawmakers passed a bill Monday that would make the electric chair the state’s method of execution if lethal injection drugs are unavailable.

A spokesman for Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, would not say if he plans to sign the bill into law.

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Virginia is one of a number of states that have been unable to obtain execution drugs and have looked for alternatives. Utah has enacted the firing squad as a backup, and Tennessee green-lighted the electric chair.

Virginia’s last execution was in October, the lethal injection of Alfredo Prieto using a drug it obtained from Texas. It has not been able to get more of the drug.

Death-row prisoners in Virginia have been able to opt for the electric chair since 1995, although only seven have. The new bill — which passed Viginia’s house in February and was approved 22-17 by the Senate on Monday — would force inmates to the electric chair if signed into law and upheld by the courts.

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