U.S. District Judge Gregory L. Frost, extended Ohio’s moratorium on executions through Jan. 15 next year, reported the Columbus Dispatch.
Frost’s order postponed Ronald Phillips’ execution, set to take place on Sept. 18, plus those of Raymond Tibbetts, 57, of Hamilton County on Oct. 15, and Gregory Lott, 43, of Cuyahoga County on Nov. 19. They all must be rescheduled by the Ohio Supreme Court.
Frost’s latest order was prompted by the continuing legal debate over lethal-injection drugs that have caused problems in executions in Ohio and several other states. In one recent execution in Oklahoma, two hours passed before the inmate died.
In his order, Frost wrote that the latest delay was needed “in light of the continuing need for discovery and necessary preparations related to the adoption and implementation of the new execution protocol.”
In April, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction officials announced they would use the same drugs that were used in the troubled Ohio execution of Dennis McGuire on Jan. 16, but in larger quantities.
McGuire, 53, was observed to repeatedly gasp, choke, clench his fists and struggle against his restraints for more than 10 minutes after the administration of midazolam, a sedative, and hydromorphone, a painkiller. McGuire was executed for the murder of 22-year-old Joy Stewart in 1989.
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