3rd Leuchter Report





Death HouseThe Death House at the Mississippi State Penitentiary is a one and a half story facility measuring some seventeen (17) by twenty (20) feet containing some three hundred forty (340) square feet and some two thousand, nine hundred ninety-two (2,992) cubic feet, owing to a ceiling height of some eight feet ten inches (8' 10"). It occupies part of, but is isolated from, the L-shaped Maximum Security Facility containing the maximum security cells for the prison and Death Row. The entire facility is constructed of red brick. It has three steel doors, one from the Death Row area of the Maximum Security Facility opening into the Control Room (used to bring the executee into the Death House), a second in the rear of the building for official witnesses which opens into the Witness Room and the third, or main door, which opens from the main yard into the Control Room.

5.001 The Lethal Gas Chamber, which occupies the proximate center of the Death Chamber, and the associated plumbing and hardware comprising the gas execution system, was installed by the Eaton Metal Products Company in October of 1954. It was reconditioned by Eaton 1n 1982. This system is a typical Eaton Lethal Gas Chamber and differs from other Eaton installations only by virtue of the fact that this has a single seat where some of the others have two. The design and construction of the Eaton Lethal Gas Chamber has not changed since the original installation in Arizona in the early 1920s.

5.002 The Execution Chamber, 17 feet by 20 feet, is separated into three rooms by two partitions. The first partition divides the longer dimension of the chamber. From its anchor on a long wall, the partition extends slightly less than half-way towards its opposite anchor before encountering the mid-perimeter point of the hexagonal Gas Chamber which has an interior diameter of 6' 2". Thus half of the Gas Chamber is in each room.

The partition is, in reality, a riveted steel bulkhead. It runs vertically from floor to ceiling. This divider separates the work area from the witness room, which is the largest of the three rooms. A second wall is fabricated of mortar, brick and plaster and runs perpendicularly from the steel bulkhead to the shorter, outside wall in the work area. It has a door and window, and separates the Chemical Room from the Control Room. The Chemical Room, which is the smallest of the rooms, has a trap door in the floor at the far end, which accesses, via a ladder, a pit beneath the lethal gas chamber. In this pit is located the necessary plumbing for the lethal gas chamber and the gas generator. The Chemical Room contains a sink, counter, the acid mixing pot, the inlet valve and the necessary plumbing for the introduction of the acid/water and ammonia into the gas generator of the lethal gas chamber. The floor of the entire area is painted concrete.

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