Three Years After Gruesome Execution, Ohio Set to Resume State-Sanctioned Killing
Death penalty opponents in Ohio are making last ditch appeals for the state to stop its plan to resume executions after a three-and-a-half-year pause.
The execution of Ronald Phillips is set for Wednesday and would be the first of 27 state-sanctioned killings scheduled through 2021.
The last execution Ohio carried out was that of Dennis McGuire in January 2014. That botched execution was a case of “apparent extreme suffering”—McGuire took 26 minutes to die, snorting and gasping for air.
“Executions have been on hold since because the state had trouble finding new supplies of drugs, and death row inmates challenged Ohio’s plans for a new three-drug execution method,” the Associated Press writes.
For Phillips’s execution, the Toledo Blade reports, the state will use “a new three-drug protocol, a combination it has never used.” It will include midazolam, though at a higher amount than was used during McGuire’s execution. The executioners will then inject “rocuronium bromide, a paralytic agent designed to shut down respiration, and then potassium chloride to induce cardiac arrest,” the Blade writes.
A vigil will take place Tuesday evening outside the Athens County Courthouse, and Amnesty International is encouraging people to tell Gov. John Kasich to halt the executions. “With the state’s history of wrongful convictions and botched executions, Ohio must recognize that the death penalty is broken beyond repair,” the human rights organization states.
Last week, a diverse group also delivered petitions with 27,000 signatures to Kasich’s office calling on him to call off the executions.
“We are not asking the state to turn its back on people who commit serious crimes. We are in favor of hard-life sentences for people who commit despicable crimes, but the death penalty eliminates the possibility we got it wrong,” said Pastor Carl Ruby with the Central Christian Church.
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