A man was executed this month in Ohio for a murder he was convicted of and his daughter claims that his execution was “tortured.” The daughter has announced her plans to file suit against the state of Ohio.
Dennis McGuire was convicted for the 1989 rape and murder of Joy Stewart. Stewart, a pregnant newlywed was fatally stabbed.
His execution caused an uproar before it occurred because of the “untried” cocktail of lethal drugs that were administered.
McGuire’s daughter, Amber claims that she suffered “agony and terror” as she watched her father’s death. She went on to describe those minutes by saying he appeared to gasp for air during his final moments.
Amber said in a statement, “It was the most awful moment in my life to witness my dad’s execution. I can’t think of any other way to describe it than torture.”
According to Jon Paul Rion, a defense attorney representing McGuire’s adult children, Dennis McGuire’s constitutional rights were violated by his execution. Rion claims that his right not to be treated or punished in a cruel or unusual way were violated.
Allen Bohnert, McGuire’s attorney described his client’s death as “a failed, agonizing experiment.” Bohnert went on to say, “The people of the state of Ohio should be appalled at what was done here today in their names.”
The week prior to Dennis McGuire’s death his attorneys tried to have his execution blocked. The lawyers insist that the lethal drug combination for the execution could lead to a medical situation called “air hunger.”
According to Bohnert “air hunger” would cause McGuire to suffer “agony and terror” as he fought for his breath. However, Ohio prison director Gary Mohr disagreed stating that it was his belief that McGuire would have “a humane, dignified execution” that was within the law.
Witnesses to the execution revealed that McGuire, 53 made loud snorting noises during the execution and it took 25 minutes from the time the drugs were administered until he was pronounced dead at 10:53 a.m.
Prison officials administered the lethal concoction of two drugs, the sedative midazolam and the painkiller hydromorphone through an IV to Dennis McGuire. The state revealed that the reason for the switch to these drugs was due to the fact that the previous drug concoction medications were dried up. They were unable to obtain a new supply due to the fact that the manufacturer determined that these drugs were “off limits for capital punishment.”
Bohnert wants Ohio Governor John Kasich to impose a moratorium on future executions. Death Penalty Information Center executive director Richard Dieter said, “Judges will now realize that the warnings being raised about these untried procedures are not just false alarms.”
“States will now have more of a burden to show that they are using a well thought out best practice.”
Ohio Assistant Attorney General Thomas Madden claims that while constitutional rights ban cruel and unusual punishment, the inmates are “not entitled to a pain-free execution.”
After the execution, the Stewart family said in a statement, “We have forgiven him, but that does not negate the need for him to pay for his actions.”
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