Running short on the drug used to lethally inject convicted killers, Ohio will switch to a new protocol beginning in October.
An order issued Monday by U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Frost said the state will adopt new procedures by Oct. 4, in time for the Nov. 14 execution of Ronald Phillips, a Summit County man who confessed that he raped, beat and killed the 3-year-old daughter of his girlfriend.
No details about the new protocol, or which drug or drugs will be used, were released. A message was left with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction seeking comment.
Ohio has used a single drug, pentobarbital, a powerful sedative, to conduct recent executions. However, the state’s supply of the drug runs out at the end of September, following the scheduled Sept. 25 lethal injection of Harry D. Mitts Jr., of Cuyahoga County. Some drug manufacturers are forbidding distributors to sell pentobarbital to states that use it for executions.
The debate about lethal injection protocol – much of it fought out in Frost’s court – resulted in the postponement of several executions two years ago.
Ohio Public Defender Tim Young’s office declined comment on the change until specifics of the new protocol are known.
By Alan Johnson - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)
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