Ohio’s Execution of Killer with New Drug Combo Lasted Nearly 15 Minutes

Recently, the makers of the drug pentobarbital—the chemical typically used in lethal injections—said it would no longer sell it to be used in executions. So this week officials in Ohio decided to switch to a new combination of two drugs, never before used to execute an inmate. According to the convicted killer’s public defenders, the act was a “failed, agonizing experiment by the state of Ohio,” that resulted in Dennis McGuire grunting, choking and gasping for air for 10-15 minutes before eventually succumbing to the drug combo. McGuire was convicted of brutally raping and murdering a 22-year-old pregnant woman in 1989. The victim’s family, some of whom witnessed the execution, released a statement that acknowledged the controversy, but also graphically detailed McGuire’s chilling crime, adding, “He is being treated far more humanely than he treated her.” According to a report in The Columbus Dispatch detailing the execution,

The chemicals began flowing about 10:29 a.m., and for a while, McGuire was quiet, closing his eyes and turning his face up and away from his family. However, about 10:34 a.m., he began struggling. His body strained against the restraints around his body, and he repeatedly gasped for air, making snorting and choking sounds for about 10 minutes. His chest and stomach heaved; his left hand, which he had used minutes earlier to wave goodbye to his family, clenched in a fist.

Ohio officials did not comment on the execution, but a spokeswoman told the paper, “Consistent with our policy, we will conduct an after-action review as we do after every execution” …

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