UPDATED: Did You Know? – 52 death sentences were handed down in 2009, the lowest number of death sentences since the death penalty was reinstated in the US in 1976. Ohio performed the first execution with a one-drug intravenous lethal injection on Dec. 8, 2009. New Hampshire and Washington authorize hanging as a method of execution. Read these and other little known facts in the death penalty debate on our updated resource page.