Courts & Crime

California's San Quentin shows off new death chamber

SAN QUENTIN — They may be getting a little ahead of themselves, but California prison officials preparing to execute an inmate next week for the first time in nearly five years opened their new lethal injection chamber for inspection by the media Tuesday.

Convicted Riverside County killer Albert Greenwood Brown is scheduled to die at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday in the new facility, an $853,000 compound inside San Quentin State Prison that was built with prison labor in a project that began in 2007.

Prison officials opened the execution chamber for what was billed as a one-time opportunity to see the replacement of a makeshift facility that had been set up inside the old gas chamber about 100 yards north on the prison grounds.

The new center, built on the site of an old visiting area, was designed to overcome legal challenges to the manner in which California inmates are executed.

Court fights have kept the state from putting anyone to death since January 2006, but prison officials are moving forward to execute Brown next week on the authority of a death warrant signed by a Riverside County judge.

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