A new documentary about the death penalty is coming to Ohio ahead of the state’s next scheduled execution on Feb. 13. The advocacy group Ohioans to Stop Executions is sponsoring screenings throughout the state.
“The Penalty” puts Ohio front and center in the death-penalty debate. It includes a look at the state’s checkered history with lethal injection drugs through the 2014 case of convicted murderer and rapist Dennis McGuire. The state used an experimental drug combination that appeared to cause McGuire to suffer and was slow to end his life.
Director Will Francome says he doesn’t want his film to be preachy, but he does want it to encourage debate.
"I think it's a good time to be discussing those things, especially since the last execution, of Alva Campbell, had complications as well," Francome said.
The film also questions some common arguments in favor of the death penalty.
“We’re often told that the death penalty is there to give victims closure," Francome said. "I learned that many people felt it hadn’t done that for them.”
Francome will conduct Q and A sessions after each screening. Screenings in Northeast Ohio will be Monday at the University of Akron at 3 p.m. and John Carroll University at 7 p.m.