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Judge Delays Execution of an Akron Man and Two Others After Challenges are Filed Over Drugs Used

photo of death row inmates
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF REHABILITATION AND CORRECTION
Three death row inmates are asking the state to look into a new three-drug lethal injection method.

A Dayton-area federal magistrate has delayed the next three scheduled executions until a challenge to the state’s new three-drug lethal injection method is settled.

Magistrate Michael R. Merz is halting the upcoming executions of Ronald Phillips in January, Raymond Tibbetts in February, and Gary Otte in March. He ordered the delay until a decision in a case filed by death-row inmates who have asked the state for information about the drugs it intends to use for lethal injection. Abe Bonowitz with Ohioans to Stop Executions says this is just one decision of many.

“We’ve got 28 executions scheduled going into 2020," Bonowitz said.

Ohio’s last execution was in January 2014, when Dennis McGuire appeared to gasp and choke during his two-drug lethal injection. The prisons department says that execution was performed humanely, but the state is now planning on using a different three drug mixture that’s never been tried before.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.