Lawyer: People 'Should Be Appalled' by Ohio Execution

Dennis McGuire's death took longer than expected

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 16, 2014 4:31 PM CST

(Newser) – The events leading up to this morning's execution of murderer Dennis McGuire made headlines because of Ohio's use of untested drugs. It doesn't look like the controversy is going to fade anytime soon, after McGuire gasped and choked for about 10 minutes before being pronounced dead. “The people of the state of Ohio should be appalled by what took place here today in their name,” said his attorney Allen Bohnert, alleging that last week's prediction that McGuire would suffer "agony and terror" came to pass.

Some accounts of reporters who witnessed the execution:

  • Alan Johnson, Columbus Dispatch: "After being injected at 10:29 a.m., about four minutes later McGuire started struggling and gasping loudly for air, making snorting and choking sounds which lasted for at least 10 minutes. His chest heaved and his left fist clinched as deep, snorting sounds emanated from his mouth. However, for the last several minutes before he was pronounced dead, he was still."
  • Josh Sweigart, Dayton Daily News: "McGuire’s seemingly unconscious body appeared to gasp, snort and struggle for air for roughly 10 minutes before he was declared dead at 10:53 a.m. ... The breaths ranged from shallow to a violent, raspy snore. The snorts were so loud his daughter covered her ears."
  • Andrew Welsh-Huggins, Associated Press: "What was particularly unusual Thursday was the five minutes or so that McGuire lay motionless on the gurney after the drugs began flowing, followed by a sudden snort and then more than 10 minutes of irregular breathing and gasping. Normally, movement comes at the beginning and is followed by inactivity. 'Oh, my God,' said his daughter."
  • Victim's family: “There has been a lot of controversy regarding the drugs that are to be used in his execution, concern that he might feel terror; that he might suffer," said a statement from the family of murder victim Joy Stewart. "As I recall the events preceding her death, forcing her from the car, attempting to rape her vaginally, sodomizing her, choking her, stabbing her, I know she suffered terror and pain. He is being treated far more humanely than he treated her."

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