General Information

Death Penalty: Yes
Date of Reinstatement (following Furman v. Georgia): July 1, 1973
Location of Death Row/Executions: Death row is located at Ely State Prison. Executions are carried out at Nevada State Prison.

Capital: Carson City
Population: 2,700,551
Governor: Steve Sisolak
Legislative Information: Senate


Death Sentences 1977-2015
Death Row Exonerations

DPIC's State Database for information on executions, death row population and other statistics in Nevada
History of the Death Penalty

Valley of Fire State Park.  Photo by Jackie Royall.

History of the Death Penalty

Nevada was the first state in the United States to use the gas chamber, and executed 32 men with that method from 1924-1979. All executions in Nevada since 1979 have been carried out by lethal injection.

Famous cases

In 1924, the use of cyanide gas was introduced, as Nevada sought a more humane way of executing its inmates. Gee Jon was the first person in the United States executed by lethal gas. The state tried to pump cyanide gas into Jon's cell while he slept, but this proved impossible, and the gas chamber was constructed.

In 2010, Ronnie Milligan was released from prison after 20 years on death row. Doubts concerning Milligan’s guilt were also raised after a letter written by an eyewitness at his trial, Ramon Houston, was discovered. In the letter, Houston indicated that he killed the victim. The letter also disclosed that Milligan, who testified at his trial that he was in an alcoholic blackout at the time of the crime, was not even at the scene when the victim was killed. Another co-defendant signed an affidavit saying that Milligan was not present during the killing, and that everybody involved conspired against him when they learned he had no memory of that day. Expressing “grave reservations” about Milligan’s guilt, District Judge Richard Wagner sentenced Milligan to a term of life with the possibility of parole and determined that Milligan was immediately eligible for parole.

Notable Exonerations

Roberto Miranda spent 14 years on death row before his conviction was reversed. A witness, Fernando Cabrera, claimed he drove with Miranda to Manuel Rodriguez Torres' house and waited outside. Cabrera had motive to frame Miranda because Miranda was having an affair with his girlfriend. At trial, Miranda had been represented by an attorney with one year's experience who had inherited the case when his colleague died. In overturning his conviction, Clark County Senior District Judge Norman Robison wrote: "The lack of pretrial preparation by trial counsel . . . cannot be justified."

Interesting Facts

In 1913, Nevada invented an "automated firing squad" comprised of three rifles mounted on an iron frame that fired simultaneously.  It was used once, in the execution of Andriza Mircovich.

The last inmates at Nevada State Prison were removed in January, 2012, but the state's execution chamber remains there.


Department of Corrections

Nevada Coalition Against the Death Penalty

Advisory Council for Prosecuting Attorneys

Public defender's office

Victims' services

An Outline of Capital Punishment in Nevada (Nevada State Library, Archives and Public Records)


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