Public Defender Says He Fears Botched Executions Ahead After Problem-Free Lethal Injection This Week

Jul 27, 2017

An outspoken advocate against the death penalty says though yesterday’s lethal injection of Ronald Phillips was problem-free, he worries that won’t be the case with the more than two dozen executions that are scheduled over the next three years.

Ohio Public Defender Tim Young says no other state has as many executions set out as far into the future as Ohio has. And because the three drug mixture the state used for the first time with Ronald Phillips includes midazolam, he’s very concerned about problematic executions ahead. “We’ll have another one of those. The science on midazolam being involved in this is so clear, it is simply a matter of time.”

Philips was the first killer to be executed in Ohio since the 2014 lethal injection of Dennis McGuire, who gasped and choked for several minutes before he died. The state prisons department said it concluded McGuire’s execution was humane, though the state did change its drugs going forward.