Ohio has announced its plans to resume executions in January 2017 with a three-drug combination, officials announced on Monday (3 October). The state had halted executions in 2014, after inmate Dennis McGuire allegedly suffocated during a prolonged execution using a two-drug cocktail.
The state presented its plan to Columbus federal Judge, Edmund Sargus, in a hearing, the Associated Press reported. Thomas Madden, from the Ohio attorney general's office, revealed the state will use midazolam to put the inmate to sleep, a dose of rocuronium bromide to paralyse the inmate and finally, potassium chloride to stop the inmate's heart.
Madden said the drugs were not compounded and are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). He added that a new execution policy will be revealed at the end of the week.
The new procedure will be first used on Ronald Phillips, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said.
Phillips was convicted in 1993 for the rape and death of his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter in Akron. ABC News reported that the state also intends to carry out executions on 15 February 2017 and 15 March 2017.
Attorneys representing death row inmates told reporters they will file a new challenge to the plans immediately. Death penalty opponents also blasted the state's decision.
"With this new execution procedure, Ohio is moving backward toward a procedure that poses greatly increased risks of pain and suffering," Allen Bohnert of the Federal Public Defender's Office said, according to NBC News.
According to NPR, the three-drug cocktail set to be used in Ohio is similar to the one used in Oklahoma. In the summer of 2014, the US Supreme Court ruled that the three drugs used in Oklahoma did not violate the US Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
"Medical experts have said that using midazolam will not reduce the substantial risk that Ohio will subject an inmate to an unconstitutional, agonising execution," Bohnert told USA Today.
"The last time Ohio ignored the experts, it botched McGuire's execution and suffocated him to death."