Gov. John Kasich has postponed the scheduled March 19 execution of Gregory Lott because of lingering concerns about the drugs used in the lethal injection of Dennis McGuire last month.
Kasich on Friday afternoon used his executive clemency power to move Lott’s execution to Nov. 19.
While the governor did not cite a reason, Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols said he wanted to give the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction time to complete its internal review of McGuire’s Jan. 16 execution. “Gregory Lott committed a heinous crime for which he will be executed,” Nichols said.
During his Jan. 16 execution, McGuire, 53, gasped, choked and clenched his fists, all the while appearing to be unconscious, for at least 10 minutes after the lethal drugs - 10 mg of midazolam, a sedative, and 40 mg of hydromorphone, a morphine derivative – flowed into his body. The drugs had never been used together for an execution.
Attorneys for Lott, 51, are challenging his execution, complaining the drugs could cause “unnecessary pain and suffering” in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A hearing has been scheduled for Feb. 19 in the U.S. District Judge Gregory L. Frost’s court.
Lott, 51, was convicted and sentenced to death for killing John McGrath, 82, by setting him on fire in his Cleveland-area home in 1986. McGrath survived in a hospital for 11 days before dying. Lott came close to execution in 2004, but the U.S. Supreme Court blocked it.
Kevin Werner, executive director of Ohioans to Stop Executions, praised Kasich for showing “leadership and careful consideration” by issuing a temporary reprieve.
By Alan Johnson - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)
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