Dennis McGuire’s execution lasted a total 26 minutes, which the AP noted is longer than any other execution in Ohio since the state resumed executions in 1999. McGuire — a 53-year-old who was convicted of raping and killing a pregnant woman in 1989 — was killed using a never-before-used drug combination.
Ohio had to resort to the new drug combination because many pharmaceutical companies have stopped making lethal injection drugs due to pressure from death penalty opponents.
The Columbus Dispatch has previously reported that it’s not clear that the new drug combination (midazolam, a sedative, and hydromorphone, a morphine derivative) directly caused McGuire’s protracted execution or his apparent struggle to breathe for so many minutes.
However, his family says the company that made the drug, Hospira Inc., should have known the drug combo “would cause unnecessary and extreme pain and suffering during the execution process.”
McGuire endured “repeated cycles of snorting, gurgling and arching his back, appearing to writhe in pain,” the lawsuit said, according to the AP. “It looked and sounded as though he was suffocating.” The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages somewhere above $US75,000.
Before Ohio tried using the two-drug combo on McGuire, the state had used a single drug called pentobarbital that manufacturers have been refusing to sell recently, according to the Dispatch.
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