Federal Magistrate Delays Ohio's Next Three Executions, Starting With First One In Two Years

Dec 19, 2016

A Dayton area federal magistrate has delayed the next three scheduled executions until a challenge to the state’s new three-drug lethal injection method is settled.

Magistrate Judge Michael R. Merz is halting the upcoming executions of Ronald Phillips in January, Raymond Tibbetts in February and Gary Otte in March. He ordered the delay until a decision in a case filed by death row inmates who have asked the state for information about the drugs it intends to use for lethal injection. Abe Bonowitz with Ohioans to Stop Executions says this is just one decision of many: “We’ve got 28 executions scheduled going into 2020.”

Ohio’s last execution was in January 2014, when Dennis McGuire appeared to gasp and choke during his two-drug lethal injection. The prisons department says that execution was performed humanely, but the state is now planning on using a different three drug mixture that’s never been tried before.