WYSO

Death Penalty

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.

There’s another bill in the Ohio House of Representatives to abolish the death penalty in the Buckeye State.

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.

The number of prisoners on Ohio's death row is decreasing as new death sentences are outnumbered by inmates who are executed or die from other causes or are freed through clemency or appeals.

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.

A state Supreme Court task force analyzing the effectiveness of Ohio's capital punishment law plans another
meeting today as part of its year-long review.

Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor convened the task force while making it clear it won't debate whether the state should have the death penalty.

The panel has discussed whether Ohio should consider a statewide approach to charging murder defendants with death penalty charges to avoid disparities that arise from county to county.

Ohio officials say the state is asking the U.S. Supreme Court for a ruling that Ohio's protocol for carrying out lethal injections is constitutional.

Gov. John Kasich and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said in a statement yesterday that the state will ask the high court to reverse a federal appeals court decision delaying the Wednesday execution of Charles Lorraine.

Ohio Public Radio's Jo Ingles speaks to Emily McCord about controversy surrounding Ohio's death penalty. A Federal appeals court upholds decision delaying execution of condemned Ohio man who killed 2 despite state efforts. Also, advocates for a stringent abortion bill made their case at the statehouse week. Ingles also reports on Presidential politics and explains the process for the Republican primaries.

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