COLUMBUS, Ohio (UPI) — Ohio will resume executions next year with a new three-drug combination for lethal injections following a three-year hiatus caused by difficulties in obtaining the drugs used previously.
Dan Tierney, a spokesman for Ohio’s attorney general’s office, said Assistant State Attorney General Thomas Madden told a federal judge that the state will file details of a “protocol change” related to executions this week, USA Today reports.
In October 2015, Ohio said it would postpone scheduled executions until at least 2017 due to the dwindling availability of the drugs used for lethal injections.
The problem worsened after many compounding pharmacies, which had previously supplied the drugs, refused to sell them to prison officials on legal and ethical grounds. The European Union voted in 2011 to ban the sale of pentobarbital to the United States over its use in executions.
The next death row inmate scheduled for execution is Ronald R. Phillips — who raped and beat a 3-year-old girl to death in 1993. Phillips was set to die on Jan. 12 but his scheduled date of execution was pushed back to Jan. 12, 2017.
Ohio’s last execution was in January 2014 when Dennis McGuire, who’d been convicted of raping, sodomizing and murdering a pregnant woman, was put to death. Witnesses to his execution said it took up to 25 minutes for McGuire to die and that the inmate appeared to gasp for air during the process.