Local senators support injection

 By Clay Redden
DAILY Staff Writer

MONTGOMERY -- The Alabama Senate did something Tuesday it's never done before. It passed a lethal injection bill. 

The Senate voted 27-1 to give condemned inmates the choice of death in the electric chair or by lethal injection. 

The area's three state senators voted for the bill sponsored by Sen. Hinton Mitchem, D-Albertville. 

Mitchem has sponsored the lethal injection bill for several years. 

Mitchem fears the U.S. Supreme Court may rule electrocution is cruel and unusual punishment and leave Alabama without a form of capital punishment. 

Sen. Tommy Ed Roberts, D-Hartselle, agrees that the days of the electric chair may be numbered. 

"I think the courts are going to rule the electric chair is unconstitutional and if we don't have an alternative in place then we would be doing away with the death penalty," he said. "I don't want to do away with the death penalty." 

Roberts served in the Alabama House when he voted to reinstate the death penalty in the late 1970s. 

He called it one of the hardest votes he's ever had to cast but did so because he felt the death penalty was a deterrent. 

He still feels that way.