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Federal Judge Halts Next Two Executions in Ohio

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Ohio’s next two scheduled executions are on hold at the order of a federal judge, who wants to hear about the state’s proposed changes to the lethal injection process. More from Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014 at 6:18 pm

U.S. District Judge Gregory Frost’s order for a two-and-a-half-month moratorium comes after the execution of Dennis McGuire in January.

McGuire was the first person ever to be put to death with a combination of the sedative midazolam and the painkiller hydromorphone, which were used because the state ran out of the drug it had been using.

Though the state’s prisons department says the execution was done humanely, witnesses said McGuire appeared to gasp and choke several times. The state has now proposed increasing the dosage of both drugs, and Frost wants time for arguments on that change.

Frost’s order halts executions till after Aug. 15, so it delays the lethal injections of Ronald Phillips of Akron, whose execution was scheduled for July 2, and William Montgomery of Toledo, who was set to die Aug. 6.