U.S. News


Family Of Executed Ohio Killer Files Lawsuit For Cruelty

The family of man executed with experimental drugs has sued state of Ohio for cruel and unusual punishment.
Posted at 1:16 PM, Jan 25, 2014

​The family of Dennis McGuire, the Ohio man killed by lethal injection earlier this month, has filed a lawsuit against the state for cruel and unusual punishment. 

"I watched the state of Ohio execute my dad... My dad began gasping a struggling to breath.  I watched his stomach heave, I watched him try to sit up. It appeared to me he was fighting for his life but suffocating." (Via The Guardian)

"Dennis McGuire... took 26 minutes to die as he received a two-drug combination that had never been used before." (Via WCMH)

The experimental drugs used on the 53-year-old included a combination of the pain killer hydromorphone and midazolam, which is a sedative. It marked the first time the drugs were ever used in combination in an execution. Dr. Howard Nearman, a professor of anesthesiology told The Plain Dealer, "In theory, these drugs, or their first cousins, are used every day in operating rooms.''

"The reason this happened is the state ran out of and could no longer get the previous drug they used because the manufactures will not sell those drugs to people, to states, that use them for executions." (Via The Columbus Dispatch

The lawsuit argues, “Executing a human being with a mixture of clinically untested drugs that cause the body to consciously writhe in pain for 25 minutes constitutes cruel and unusual punishment... ”  (Via U.S. District Court - Southern District of Ohio

McGuire had spent 25 years in prison for a murder conviction before his execution.​ "McGuire kidnapped, raped and stabbed to death Joy Stewart in 1989, she was eight months pregnant." (Via WDTN)

In a statement obtained exclusively by WDTN, the Stewart family said, "She never got to realize her dreams, never got to hold her baby boy in her arms, never got to kiss his soft cheek. ... I know she suffered terror and pain. [McGuire} is being treated far more humanely than he treated her." 

McGuire's family is asking for revisions in Ohio's execution protocol, attorneys' fees, $75,000 in damages, and compensation for his pain and suffering.