Ohio inmate seeks to stop January execution date


An inmate scheduled to be the first executed in Ohio in three years wants a delay so he can have more time to challenge to the state’s new three-drug method for carrying out death sentences.

Ronald Phillips, who filed the request in federal court late last week, and other inmates are trying to block the new procedure, arguing that it will result in a painful and barbaric death.

The state in October announced plans to carry out at least three executions with the new drug combination.

It hasn’t executed any prisoner since January 2014 when death row inmate Dennis McGuire repeatedly gasped and snorted during a 26-minute procedure using a never-before-tried two-drug combo.

Executions then went on hold as the state had trouble finding new supplies of drugs, which were made off limits for executions by drugmakers.

Phillips is scheduled to be executed on Jan. 12 for the rape and murder of his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter, Sheila Marie Evan, in Akron in 1993.

His execution already has been delayed several times, including in 2013 when he made a last-minute request that was later denied to donate a kidney to his mother, who was on dialysis.

The latest challenge says a delay is needed to make sure he can pursue his claims.

“This court should not permit Phillips’ execution to proceed before the court has the opportunity to review the full merits of his constitutional claims,” his attorney wrote in the filing made on Friday.

A message seeking comment was left Monday with Dan Tierney, a spokesman for Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

A federal appeals court two weeks ago rejected a different challenge to Ohio’s execution process that argued against a state law that shields the names of companies providing lethal injection drugs.

Three death row inmates countered that the law restricts information that helps inform the public debate over capital punishment.

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