COLUMBUS, Ohio (Diya TV) — Ohio said Monday it will resume executions after a hiatus of nearly three years that began after the state botched the dispatch of Dennis McGuire with a two-drug lethal combination that hadn’t been tried before. He was seen gasping and snorting for 26 minutes before being declared dead.
A representative of Ohio’s attorney general’s office told a judge in Columbus that the state was ready to use a three-drug lethal injection cocktail and expected to put it into practice with an execution in the new year.
Thomas Madden told the court on Monday that the new formula for ending the lives of convicts on death row would consist of midazolam, which puts the inmate to sleep; rocuronium bromide, which paralyzes the inmate; and potassium chloride, which stops the heart.
The announcement will likely come as a disappointment to the anti-death penalty advocate who less than a week ago were buoyed by a new Pew Research poll showing support for capital punishment in the United States falling below 50 percent for the first time in a half-century.
Several states which normally lead the way in executions in the U.S. have struggled to keep up their normal pace in the last several years or, like Ohio, gave up for a while because of a shortage of drugs traditionally used to end the lives of the condemned.
The shortage came because two of the drugs traditionally used to perform the procedure — sodium thiopental and pentobarbital — are not available in the United States. Additionally, their manufacturers, who exist overseas, declared they would not sell the drugs to states who intended to use them for execution purposes.
Ohio now says that it expects to execute three prisoner during 2017 with its new three-drug combination. Among them will be Ronald Phillips who was convicted in the rape and murder of his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter in Akron in 1993.
Lawyers representing inmates on Ohio’s death row indicated that they planned to appeal the state’s new execution protocol as soon as it is released, which should happen next week. There are currently more than 130 inmates on the states death row.