First Execution Using New Drug Cocktail Viewed As Problematic

Jan 17, 2014

A convicted killer from western Ohio became the first person ever to be executed with a two-drug mix that the state of Ohio adopted as its execution method late last year.

The execution of 53 year old Dennis McGuire began with him telling his family he loved them and thanking the family of his victim, Joy Stewart, for a letter they sent him. Columbus Dispatch reporter Alan Johnson says McGuire closed his eyes, and then seemed to have trouble breathing.

“It was kind of rattling, gasping, even choking sound, I would say. And this went on intermittently for at least 10 minutes, perhaps a little more,” says Johnson.

McGuire’s attorney Allen Bohnert calls the execution a failed, agonizing experiment, and he feared this would happen.

“Ohioans should be appalled at what happened, and especially at what happened in their names,” says Bohnert.

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said in a statement that a review will be conducted, as it is after every execution. The next execution is scheduled for March.