A man convicted of murder was executed in Ohio on Thursday using a new lethal injection combination. The new drugs have never been tried before in the United States for this purpose, and it took more than 15 minutes for the killer to die.
Dennis McGuire sat motionless for more than five minutes after he was injected with the new lethal injection cocktail. He then reportedly let out a loud snort, like a snore, followed by a few more over the space of a few minutes.
According to eyewitnesses at the execution, McGuire then opened and shut his mouth a few times silently as his stomach rose and fell.
McGuire’s daughter, Amber McGuire, who was present at the execution shouted out “Oh my God” as she watched her father take his last few breaths.
McGuire’s lawyers had tried to stop him being executed, claiming that their client was at a high risk of a medical phenomenon known as ‘air hunger’ which causes a person to die a terror-filled death as they gasp for air.
McGuire admitted his guilt in a letter to Gov. John Kasich last month where he confessed to the 1989 rape and stabbing of a young pregnant woman.
Medical companies made previous legal injection drugs off-limits for capital punishment as states struggled to find an appropriate alternative to use. This was the first time this particular mix of drugs was used in Ohio.
Just before his execution McGuire said: “I’m going to heaven, I’ll see you there when you come.” He then opened and closed his left hand a few times, appearing to wave at his children.
Until now, executions with lethal drugs seemed to work very quickly, killing the person being executed almost instantly. The fact that the new lethal injection mix took longer to work, and saw the victim gasping and snorting, makes the new combination controversial.
The state’s lawyers disputed claims from McGuire’s team than he would experience terror and die a slow death. The federal judge sided with the state, but noted that the new lethal injection mix was an experiment.
Here is a short news report on the Ohio execution of Dennis McGuire:
Here are some Tweets about the Ohio execution:
“A US murderer struggled and gasped for air for at least 10 minutes as he was put to death in a prolonged execution”
— Elle Hardy (@ellehardytweets) January 17, 2014
BREAKING: Ohio executes condemned killer with first U.S. use of two-drug lethal injection method.
— The Associated Press (@AP) January 16, 2014
Witnessed and covered the execution of Dennis McGuire today: http://t.co/Qauw1TIH4F
— Josh Sweigart (@JoshSweigart) January 17, 2014
Ohio performed the first execution with a new injection today:
— WEWS NewsChannel5 (@WEWS) January 16, 2014