Ohio Executes Killer With Untried Drug Combo

'Prolonged' execution takes 15-plus minutes

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 16, 2014 12:43 AM CST | Updated Jan 16, 2014 10:43 AM CST

(Newser) – Dennis McGuire was put to death today with a two-drug combination previously untested in the US, and at more than 15 minutes, it was one of the longest executions in Ohio since the state resumed capital punishment in 1999. McGuire, whose lawyers had attempted to delay his execution by arguing that he would likely feel "terror" following the lethal injection, appeared to gasp a few times as he died, making several loud snorting or snoring sounds, the AP reports. Before his execution, he told his sobbing adult children, "I'm going to heaven, I'll see you there when you come."

McGuire had sought a reprieve by offering to become an organ donor, but was rejected because he couldn't identify a family member who would receive his organs, according to documents obtained by the AP. McGuire, who raped and murdered a pregnant woman in 1989, was executed with the untested combination of the sedative midozolam and the painkiller hydropmorphone because of a shortage of the execution drug pentobarbital, NBC reports. His lawyers had contended "that he will suffocate to death in agony and terror. The state disagrees," the director of UC Berkeley's Death Penalty Clinic told CNN before the execution. (One Wyoming state senator, concerned about the shortage of execution drugs, is trying to bring back firing squads as an alternative.)

This photo provided by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction shows Dennis McGuire, 53
This photo provided by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction shows Dennis McGuire, 53   (AP Photo/Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction)
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