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Ohio execution under fire for lengthy death with new lethal injection drugs

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The Ohio execution of death row inmate Dennis McGuire using a controversial new lethal injection took approximately 15 minutes, during which the condemned killer appeared to gasp and convulse, Fox News reported on Jan. 16.

The allegedly prolonged death in the Ohio execution is being reported as the longest execution since Ohio resumed capital punishment in 1999.

The lethal injection used in the Ohio execution of McGuire had never before been used in the United States, USA Today said.

Graphic descriptions of the execution process by reporters who witnessed the execution said that McGuire gasped, snorted and convulsed during the execution procedure and opened and shut his left hand several times. In addition, his stomach apparently rose and fell several times and he opened and closed his mouth several times during the approximately 15 minutes from the lethal injection until he was declared dead at 10:53 a.m. ET on Thursday.

The executed Ohio inmate was convicted in 1994 of the rape and murder of 22-year-old Joy Stewart, who was seven months pregnant, CNN said.

The Ohio execution had garnered controversy even before it took place. Ohio, like other states, has been forced to find new drugs to execute death row inmates because European-based manufacturers have banned U.S. prisons from using their drugs.

The drugs used in the Ohio execution of McGuire were a combination of midazolam, a sedative, and hydromorphone, a pain killer, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction told CNN.

Learn more about Dennis McGuire’s incarceration.

Ohio death row inmate Ron Phillips was to have been the first executed with the new drugs when his time had run out last year. But Ohio Gov. John Kasich granted the convicted killer a stay of execution pending a review of a possible organ donation to his family members.