Talk that inmate’s heart could beat after jolt enters debate over …

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – The state’s new method of electrocution, a single, sustained jolt instead of several shorter ones, could leave the condemned’s heart beating well after the shock, backers and foes of the protocol say.

The macabre image of a strapped-down inmate, possibly brain dead but with a pulsating heart, could sharpen an already tense debate as Nebraska, the only state with the electric chair as its sole means of execution, prepares to put to death its first prisoner in a decade.

No one’s sure the inmate’s heart would continue to beat after the current stopped, but the possibility has caused a furor among capital punishment opponents since it was broached by the doctor who almost single-handedly revised Nebraska’s execution protocol.

Carey Dean Moore is to die May 8 through an untested system of sending 2,450 volts through his body for 20 seconds.

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