A brand new combination of drugs used for the first time in the United States on a death row inmate caused a condemned inmate in Ohio to gasp multiple times for air prior to dying, according to The Associated Press.
The inmate, Dennis McGuire, snorted loudly multiple times during one of the longest executions to take place in Ohio since it resumed them in 1999. The attorneys for McGuire tried to halt the execution using the new method last week because they claimed he would be in “agony and terror.”
The two drugs were given using intravenous doses. The two drugs were midazolam, a sedative, and hydromorphone, a painkiller. McGuire was put to death for the rape and fatal stabbing of a pregnant woman back in 1989. The woman was identified as Joy Stewart.
Prior to his death, McGuire thanked the family of Stewart for their “kind words” in a letter they sent him.
“I’m going to heaven, I’ll see you there when you come,” he said.
The adult children of McGuire were in a witness room just feet from their father in the state’s death house in Lucasville. He waved to his daughter, son and daughter-in-law and then said, “I love you. I love you.”
At first, McGuire sat still for some five minutes, but then snorted and made noises for almost 15 minutes.
“Oh my God,” his daughter, Amber McGuire, said.
He was pronounced dead at 10:53 a.m.
Allen Bohnert, a federal public defender, said that the death of McGuire was “a failed, agonizing experiment by the state of Ohio.”
“The court’s concerns expressed earlier this week have been confirmed,” said Bohnert. Bohnert did not witness the execution. “And more importantly, the people of the state of Ohio should be appalled at what was done here today in their names.”
Following McGuire’s death, Stewart’s sister, Carol Avery, said, “We have forgiven him, but that does not negate the need for him to pay for his actions.”
It took a decade for DNA evidence to link McGuire to the crime and he sent a letter to Governor John Kasich last month saying that he indeed did commit the crime.
“One can scarcely conceive of a sequence of crimes more shocking to the conscience or to moral sensibilities than the senseless kidnapping and rape of a young, pregnant woman followed by her murder,” Preble County prosecutors said in their filing with the parole board.
In a filing with the state parole board, the attorneys for McGuire said, “Dennis was at risk from the moment he was born. The lack of proper nutrition, chaotic home environment, abuse, lack of positive supervision and lack of positive role models all affected Dennis’ brain development.”