Did he fake the death drama? We may never know.

Was he told to make it look dramatic? Did he actually do it? It’s unclear, and dead men tell no tales. But what a fiasco.

Ohio guards: Inmate was urged to fake suffocation.

An attorney for a condemned Ohio inmate whose slow, gasping execution with a new drug combination renewed questions about the death penalty was temporarily suspended last week while officials investigated whether he had coached the condemned man to fake symptoms of suffocation.

State prison records released Monday say McGuire told guards that Lowe counseled him to make a show of his death that would, perhaps, lead to abolition of the death penalty. But three accounts from prison officials indicate McGuire refused to put on a display.

Amy Borror, a spokeswoman for the public defender’s office, said all accounts from execution eyewitnesses — which did not include Lowe — indicate McGuire was unconscious at the time he struggled to breathe.

“We have no way of knowing, obviously, because we can’t interview Mr. McGuire,” she said.

Prisons officials alerted Gov. John Kasich’s lawyer the night before the execution that McGuire had been overheard telling family members he’d been “encouraged to feign suffocation when the lethal injection drugs were first administered,” according to a statement released by the public defender’s office. The investigation was first reported by The Columbus Dispatch.

The night before his execution, a corrections team leader reported being told by McGuire that he understood Lowe as saying “if he started to choke or jerk in any way” the governor would put a stop to the execution.

Dennis McGuire was sentenced to the death penalty after having been found guilty of raping and killing a woman in 1989. McGuire was the first person in Ohio to be executed with a new combination of drugs for the lethal injection, midazolam (a sedative) and hydromorphone (a painkiller). However, it took an unusual long time for McGuire to die, 26 minutes, which has led McGuire’s family to sue the state for cruelty and torture. Perhaps the only way we will know if these symptoms are common is by executing people the same way. That’s up in the air right now.

Photo credit: Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

Photo credit: Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

Are the pharmacies doing it right? This is the same pharmacy that caused a meningitis problem before.

Issues with lethal injection prompt states to consider older methods | The Salt Lake Tribune.

  9 comments for “Did he fake the death drama? We may never know.

  1. January 30, 2014 at 9:29 AM

    Of note, the woman he raped and killed was 8 months pregnant at the time. The drugs should make it as cruel and tortuous as possible. Working as intended!

  2. Adam
    January 30, 2014 at 9:59 AM

    I don’t really understand how a protracted procedure for lethal injection is any more “humane” than just shooting someone in the heart to cause sufficient trauma that they are unconscious in seconds and dead soon after.

    • Nos482
      January 30, 2014 at 2:53 PM

      It isn’t, putting the soon to be dead person to sleep and everything is just to make the executing party feel better.
      “He went peacefully in his sleep, look how good/gentle/noble we are.”

      • Nos482
        January 31, 2014 at 12:29 AM

        Ha, found it:

        • Nos482
          January 31, 2014 at 12:30 AM

          oops, sorry for the giant player… at least now my avatar is appropriate.

  3. rusty
    January 30, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    How dare this guy not die quickly? Clearly he did this on purpose! WTF?
    This claim seems to me like a smoke-screen to try to take attention away from the 26 minutes.

  4. Bonnie
    February 1, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    I don’t understand why they don’t use whatever vets use to euthanize animals. I’ve had to euthanize several dogs and cats over the years. One injection and death is very quick. There have been plenty of animal “trials.”

    • February 1, 2014 at 12:16 PM

      I’m no expert but maybe the amount it would take to kill a human would be considered inhumane or something? Maybe some of our readers knows?

      • Peta
        February 3, 2014 at 12:50 AM

        Actually, I’m no expert either – but as I understand it, both midazolam (a benzodiazepine) & hydromorphone (an opioid) have a tendency for cross tolerance. Perhaps the prison employees were given an inadequate amount of the drugs to work with?

        I’m not a regular drug user by any means, but I have been given “twilight sedation” comprised primarily of midazolam and rapifen (a synthetic opioid) a few times in my adult life & am told that I have “developed a slight tolerance” to either/both of those substances, despite not being exposed to them regularly.

        What are the odds that a prison inmate could obtain opiates? If prisons in Ohio have a methadone program – I’m sure it would behoove them to use an adequate dose of these drugs if the circumstances indicate the necessity to. Otherwise, it does seem to me to be a “cruel & unusual” way to be put to death & a fairly bad way to avoid litigation from the families of those who take a similarly long time to die.

        P.S. I find it rather difficult to believe that anyone could “fake” a protracted death from those substances.

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