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Ohio becomes first state to use new death penalty drug

Associate Editor

Published: Friday, January 17, 2014

Updated: Friday, January 17, 2014 13:01


Kantele Franko | Associated Press

Dennis McGuire holds a tissue while announcing a planned lawsuit against the state over the unusually slow execution of his father, also named Dennis McGuire, at a news conference Friday, Jan. 17, in Dayton, Ohio. McGuire's lawyers had attempted last week 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 and terror" while struggling to catch his breath.

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Convicted rapist and murderer Dennis McGuire suffered a slow, state-mandated death.

McGuire was the United State’s guinea pig for a new two-drug lethal injection used by the state of Ohio in his execution Thursday. The drugs used were midazolam and hydromorphone, both never before used together in the U.S. The reason for this is because of a quasi-sanction by European drug manufacturers against death penalty states, like Texas, who buy lethal combinations of drugs in order to perform executions.

The new two-drug cocktail posed a reaction on McGuire that caused him to gasp for air several times over the span of 20 minutes, according to Associated Press. The convict’s attorney Allen Bohnert called the execution an “agonizing experiment.”

“The people of the state of Ohio should be appalled at what was done here today in their names,” Bohnert said.

McGuire’s family plans on suing the state for the incident.

Two days before the execution, Daily Mail said the drug combination that was used would cause a “painful and terrifying” effect as the inmates dies known as ‘air hunger’ in which the convict feels the sensation of being suffocated.

Texas is among many states who still enforce the death penalty on criminals but is experiencing a traditional cocktail drought.

Convicted Houston, Texas cop-killer Edgar Tamayo is set to be executed Wednesday in Huntsville, Texas.

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