Daughter: Ohio Execution Most Awful Moment Of Life
By: Associated Press
LUCASVILLE, Ohio -
An Ohio inmate put to death formurder was tortured by his unusually slow execution, the man's daughter said Friday asshe announced plans to file a lawsuit over her father's death.
Dennis McGuire's daughter, Amber,referred to the "agony and terror" of watching her father as heappeared to gasp in his final moments Thursday - using the same words thecondemned man's attorneys used in trying to stop his execution using a previously untried methodof lethal injection.
"It was the most awful moment inmy life to witness my dad's execution," she said in a statement ahead of the newsconference. "I can't think of any other way to describe it thantorture."
The execution violated Dennis McGuire'sconstitutional right not to be treated or punished in a cruel or unusual way,said defense attorney Jon Paul Rion, representing McGuire's adult children.
McGuire's attorney Allen Bohnertcalled the convicted killer's death "a failed, agonizing experiment"and added: "The people of the state of Ohio should be appalled at what wasdone here today in their names."
It's almost certain lawyers will useMcGuire's executionto challenge Ohio's plans to put a condemned Cleveland-area killer to death inMarch.
McGuire's lawyers had attempted lastweek to block his execution,arguing that the untried method could lead to a medical phenomenon known as"air hunger" and could cause him to suffer "agony andterror" while struggling to catch his breath.
A few minutes before McGuire was putto death, Ohio prison director Gary Mohr said he believed the state's planningwould produce "a humane, dignified execution" consistent with the law.
McGuire, 53, made loud snortingnoises during one of the longest executions since Ohio resumed capital punishment in 1999. Nearly25 minutes passed between the time the lethal drugs began flowing and McGuirewas pronounced dead at 10:53 a.m.
Executions under the oldmethod were typically much shorter and did not cause the kind of sounds McGuiremade.
Ohio prisons spokeswoman JoEllenSmith had no comment on how the execution went but said a review will be conducted as usual.
Prison officials gave intravenousdoses of two drugs, the sedative midazolam and the painkiller hydromorphone, toput McGuire to death for the 1989 rape and fatal stabbing of a pregnantnewlywed, Joy Stewart.
The method was adopted after suppliesof a previously used drug dried up because the manufacturer declared it offlimits for capital punishment.
McGuire's attorney called onRepublican Gov. John Kasich to impose a moratorium on future executions, as did astate death penalty opponent group.
The move will likely echo across thecountry as other states contemplate new drug methods, said Richard Dieter,executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, which opposescapital punishment.
"Judges will now realize thatthe warnings being raised about these untried procedures are not just falsealarms," he said in an email. "States will now have more of a burdento show that they are using a well thought out best practice. "
What was particularly unusualThursday was the five minutes or so that McGuire lay motionless on the gurneyafter the drugs began flowing, followed by a sudden snort and then more than 10minutes of irregular breathing and gasping. Normally, movement comes at thebeginning and is followed by inactivity.
"Oh, my God," his daughter,Amber McGuire, said as she watched his final moments.
In pressing for the execution to go ahead,state Assistant Attorney General Thomas Madden had argued that while the U.S.Constitution bans cruel and unusual punishment, "you're not entitled to apain-free execution."
U.S. District Judge Gregory Frostsided with the state. But at the request of McGuire's lawyers, he orderedofficials to photograph and preserve the drug vials, packaging and syringes.
McGuire, strapped to a gurney in thedeath chamber, thanked Stewart's family members, who witnessed the execution, for their"kind words" in a letter he apparently received from them.
"I'm going to heaven. I'll seeyou there when you come," he said.
Stewart's slaying went unsolved for10 months until McGuire, jailed on an unrelated assault and hoping to improvehis legal situation, told investigators he had information about the death. Hisattempts to pin the crime on his brother-in-law quickly unraveled, and he wasaccused of the killing.
More than a decade later, DNAevidence confirmed McGuire's guilt, and he acknowledged his responsibility in aletter to Kasich last month.
The death row inmate's lawyers arguedMcGuire was mentally, physically and sexually abused as a child and hadimpaired brain function that made him prone to act impulsively.
"We have forgiven him, but thatdoes not negate the need for him to pay for his actions," Stewart's familysaid in a statement after the execution.