Executions in Ohio may be on hold again as state prison officials refine their lethal-injection protocol to meet a federal judge’s requirements.
Without objection from the Attorney General, U.S. District Judge Gregory Frost halted the execution of Michael Webb and allowed Mr. Webb to join other death-penalty defendants in a lawsuit challenging the state’s lethal-injection protocol.
“We felt we had no choice,” Attorney General DeWine said. “We’re not going to carry out another execution without it being perfect.”
A.G. DeWine said the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction has made “great progress” in refining lethal-injection rules, “but we’re not quite done with that.”
Governor John Kasich also signed off on the deal.
Judge Frost’s ruling will result in a lengthy reprieve for Mr. Webb of Goshen, Ohio, who was sentenced to death for setting fire to the family home in 1990, causing the death of his son, Mikey. Mr. Webb says he is not guilty and that someone else ignited the blaze.
If Mr. Webb’s execution is reordered, the Ohio Supreme Court would have to set a new death date. Executions are now scheduled through January 2014.
The state will continue its appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court of Judge Frost’s decision blocking the execution of Charles Lorraine. Judge Frost issued a scathing decision this month that criticized the state for failing to follow its own rules in the November 15 execution of Reginald Brooks.
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