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Judge won’t stop condemned Ohio killer’s execution

November 7, 2013

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A U.S. federal judge on Thursday declined to stop the upcoming execution of a condemned child killer over concerns raised by defense attorneys over Ohio’s new, never-tried lethal injection processes.

Ronald Phillips’ lawyers sued to stop his execution on the grounds that Ohio had delayed the announcement of its policy so long it didn’t leave enough time to fully investigate the method.

Judge Gregory Frost said he understands why Phillips does not trust the state to follow its own execution policies based on problems in the past. But he said Phillips did not prove the state’s new policy is unconstitutional.

Phillips, 40, is scheduled to die Nov. 14 for raping and killing Sheila Marie Evans, the 3-year-old daughter of his girlfriend, after a long period of abusing the girl.

Gov. John Kasich later Thursday refused to spare Phillips, without comment.

An attorney for Ohio said the state is committed to carrying out the execution in a humane, dignified and constitutional manner and understands that commitment.

The agency switched to two new drugs because it couldn’t obtain a supply of its former execution drug, pentobarbital.

Instead, the state plans to use an intravenous combination of midazolam, a sedative, and hydromorphone, a painkiller, to put Phillips to death.

No state has put a prisoner to death with that combination of drugs.

Phillips’ lawyers also have pushed for mercy, arguing he was raped and beaten by his late father as a child and grew up in a chaotic, filthy environment.

The state says Phillips long denied suffering such abuse and raised it only as his execution became imminent.

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Andrew Welsh-Huggins can be reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/awhcolumbus.

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