COLUMBUS — Gov. Mike DeWine has directed his state prisons department to find a way to carry out an execution that doesn't involve cruel and unusual punishment.

But when asked Friday if he is certain Ohio can come up with a way that doesn't violate the Eighth Amendment, he took a long pause before responding.

"Well, I think I’m going to wait and see what [the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction] comes up with, first of all. They will come up with a protocol.”

And has the former county prosecutor and attorney general changed his views on the death penalty?

"It remains at this point the law of the state of Ohio and I'm not going to comment much at this point beyond that," DeWine replied.

His comments came during a meeting with Dispatch editors and reporters following his budget rollout.

The governor has delayed four executions, and says he will postpone more if necessary to come up with a new, court-approved protocol.

The search for a new death method was sparked when a federal judge likened Ohio's current three-drug cocktail to waterboarding and injecting fire in the prisoner's veins.

Part of the difficulty of developing a new protocol will be obtaining a lethal drug from manufacturers not inclined to allow their product to be used in executions.

"Looking forward, obviously DRC has got to consider as they put together a new protocol where they would get certain drugs. I assume that they will look at the difficulty of getting those drugs, as well," he said.