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Ken Piorkowski via Wikimedia Commons

For most Americans, the phrase "death penalty" conjures images of an orange-clad inmate strapped to a metal gurney, his last shallow breaths behind glass in a sterile room. Others with longer memories might see the grim outline of an electric chair or a hooded figure edging toward the hangman's noose.

But Salem Witch Trial-style stake burning? Isn’t that rather 1690s?

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