The Latest: Prosecutor: Time to discuss new execution method
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Latest on Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine delaying three additional executions (all times local):
A veteran prosecutor and longtime critic of delaying executions says it’s time for Ohio to consider new execution methods after a new round of delays was announced.
Republican Ron O’Brien is prosecutor in central Ohio’s Franklin County. He says nitrogen gas is an option that has been discussed as an alternative during debate over lethal injection.
O’Brien says Ohio law regarding execution methods should be reviewed to avoid repeated delays of lawful death sentences.
He was reacting to Gov. Mike DeWine’s decision Thursday to delay three executions to allow the state time to develop a new lethal injection method.
One of those three, of death row inmate Kareem Jackson, falls under O’Brien’s jurisdiction.
Jackson was sentenced to die for shooting and killing two men in Columbus during a 1997 robbery.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has delayed three additional executions to give the state prison system time to develop a new lethal injection method.
The Republican governor’s order Thursday follows a federal judge’s scathing critique in January of the first drug used in the current process, the sedative midazolam (mih-DAY’-zoh-lam).
Federal Judge Michael Merz said inmates could suffer severe pain because the drug doesn’t render them deeply enough unconscious.
DeWine delayed a February execution after the judge’s ruling and ordered a new process developed. But Merz questioned why Ohio was preparing for additional executions given that directive.
DeWine said Thursday it was “highly unlikely” any new injection process would make it through expected lawsuits in time for the next three executions.
The decision delays executions scheduled for May, July and September.
A federal judge critical of Ohio’s current lethal injection system has scheduled a hearing to review the status of a long-running lawsuit challenging the state’s execution method.
Judge Michael Merz in January issued a scathing critique of the first drug used in the process, the sedative midazolam (mih-DAY’-zoh-lam). He said inmates could suffer severe pain because the drug doesn’t render them deeply enough unconscious.
In response, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine delayed a February execution and ordered the prison system to come up with a new lethal injection process.
Merz has since questioned why Ohio is preparing for a May execution given DeWine’s announcement.
The judge set the hearing for Thursday morning in Dayton.