Tragedy At State Fair, And Ohio Executes First Inmate In More Than Three Years

This was a dark week in Ohio news. First, the tragic situation on opening day of the Ohio State Fair, when a catastrophic breakdown on a ride called Fireball left one person dead and several injured.

After a pause of more than three years, the state carried out its first execution since a lethal injection in 2014 sparked a change in death penalty protocol and a lengthy legal battle. Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow was in Lucasville for the execution of 43 year old Ronald Phillips.

Leading up to the execution, both capital punishment supporters and opponents of the death penalty were on alert. Statehouse correspondent Jo Ingles reports on the last minute appeals that were being made as the execution date moved closer.

Since the death penalty was reinstated in 1974 and the current law went into effect in 1981, there have been questions about how best to implement it. Concerns that it’s not fairly applied have led some high profile people to change their positions on the death penalty, including Republican former Attorney General Jim Petro and the late Terry Collins, who oversaw more than 30 executions as the warden at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility and then as the state’s prisons director. One of the groups that doesn’t have an official position on the death penalty but raised concerns about its practice in Ohio is the American Bar Association. Tim Young is Ohio’s Public Defender. He was also one of the 22 members of the Ohio Supreme Court’s task force on the death penalty, which used an ABA report on Ohio's death penalty process as part of its two-year-long study of capital punishment in Ohio.

And in Ohio politics - just three days before President Donald Trump came back to Ohio for a rally in Youngstown, Republicans came to Columbus over the weekend for their biggest statewide fundraising event. And it featured Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman and a long list of well-known Republicans and hundreds of operatives, strategists, volunteers and donors. It also included three of the candidates for governor, though all four were on the schedule. Northeast Ohio Congressman Jim Renacci, Secretary of State Jon Husted and Attorney General Mike DeWine spoke. Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor said she was on a long planned trip with her son and that family is her highest priority, but that she’s in the race to win.

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