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.
An annual report that looks at Ohio's capital punishment system says 128 inmates sentenced to death over the past three decades have avoided their sentence through court action, commutations or dying of natural causes.
The report by Attorney General Mike DeWine says the state sentenced a total of 316 inmates to death from 1981, when Ohio's current death penalty law was enacted, through 2012.
Eighteen inmates have been spared by Ohio governors, 24 died in prison and eight were found ineligible for execution because they are mentally disabled.
An Ohio Supreme Court committee studying the state's capital punishment law plans to vote on recommendations today requiring the collection of data to detect racial bias in death penalty cases.
The data would include a review of past cases as well as collecting information in the future on all homicides that might be eligible for capital punishment. Other recommendations would require prosecutors, lawyers and judges involved in death penalty cases to be trained to protect against racial bias.