A federal judge has ordered a temporary halt to capital punishment in Ohio, meaning a delay in the next two scheduled executions.
The judge wants to hear about proposed changes to the lethal injection process. Ohio Public Radio's Karen Kasler reports.
Judge Gregory Frost’s order for a 2 1/2-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 August 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 August 6.