Dennis McGuire was executed by the State of Ohio using a new two-drug combination that had never been used in an execution in Ohio, or anywhere else for that matter. Many warned about the possibility that this lethal injection method would be the very cruel and inhuman type of death that the U.S. Constitution prohibits.
Ohio went ahead anyway.
Now, media reports are quoting witnesses to the execution that Dennis McGuire didn’t pass away on that gurney quickly or quietly. For 10 minutes, witnesses watched as McGuire choked for breath, gasping and straining against the restraints, struggling for air.
Included among those witnesses were his federal public defenders, his daughter, son, and daughter-in-law.
Watch Columbus Dispatch reporter Alan Johnson’s recounting of what he saw here.
Of course, McGuire had been convicted of a violent crime – but comparing the death for which he was convicted with the death he had to endure in his execution is missing the point here.
Constitutional protections exist to prevent inhumane executions by the government and in states like Ohio and Oklahoma (remember Wilson’s "I feel my whole body burning" last week"?) where these untried drug combinations are being used in capital punishment – well, it’s beyond shocking and no one should be surprised that there are calls now for an immediate moratorium on the death penalty in Ohio now.
As for his children? They are reportedly suing in federal court for the wrongful death of their father in this execution. Watch the Johnson video above for details here.