COLUMBUS: Ohio is increasing the dosage of the lethal injection drugs used to put condemned inmates to death.
The state said Monday it is boosting the amount of the two-drug combo of a sedative and painkiller “to allay any remaining concerns” after the last execution, when an inmate made repeated snorting-like gasps as he died.
The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction also said Monday it believes death row inmate Dennis McGuire was not conscious and did not experience pain or distress during his Jan. 14 execution.
The state’s policy change comes 30 days before the next scheduled execution on May 28, when a man convicted of killing a Cleveland produce vendor in 1983 is set to die.
McGuire’s 26-minute execution was the longest since Ohio resumed putting inmates to death in 1999.
The long and fitful execution of McGuire with a then-untested combination of chemicals brought cries of cruel and unusual punishment.
A gasping, snorting McGuire took 26 minutes to die after the chemicals began flowing. McGuire’s adult children complained it amounted to torture, with the convicted killer’s son saying: “Nobody deserves to go through that.”
States are in a bind for two main reasons: European companies have cut off supplies of certain execution drugs because of opposition to capital punishment in Europe. And states can’t simply switch to other chemicals without triggering legal challenges from defense attorneys.