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Prolonged Execution Ignites Debate Over New Injection Scheme

Dennis McGuire took fifteen minutes to die by lethal injection on Thursday morning at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville. A Columbus Dispatch reporter described Mr. McGuire as struggling, gasping, and snorting for ten minutes before his death.

Because the execution took an unusually long time and because Ohio used a new, untested cocktail of drugs, the execution has ignited debate over lethal injection.

Mr. McGuire was the first death row inmate in the United States to be given midazolam and hydromorphone. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction selected the drugs after the state’s supply of pentobarbital expired in 2009.

 

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