The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

January 28, 2014

Ohio guards: Inmate was urged to fake suffocation

COLUMBUS — 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.

The Office of the Public Defender said Robert Lowe, one of the attorneys representing inmate Dennis McGuire, was back at work Monday after an internal review failed to substantiate the allegation.

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.

“He wants me to put on this big show in front of my kids, all right when I’m dying!” McGuire is reported as having told one guard. “I ain’t gonna do this. It’s about me and my kids, not him and his cause!”

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.

Borror said Lowe was not speaking with the media. He did not immediately return an email message or a phone message left at a number listed under his name. The office’s director, Tim Young, told the Dispatch on Monday that no one in his office encouraged McGuire to fake any symptoms.

Borror said Lowe walked McGuire through the steps involved in an execution and McGuire’s statements may have arisen from an interpretation of those conversations. Borror said Lowe asked McGuire to give a thumbs-up during the execution as a way of determining when he lost consciousness.

Due to ongoing federal litigation, she said the public defender’s office closely monitors the sequence of events during the execution process.

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.

McGuire, 53, was put to death Jan. 16 for raping and killing a pregnant newlywed in 1989. He was executed with a combination of drugs — the sedative midazolam and the painkiller hydromorphone — that had never before been used in the U.S. and his fitful final moments sparked criticism and calls for a death-penalty moratorium.

McGuire took 26 minutes to die after the chemicals began flowing — the longest execution of the 53 carried out in Ohio since capital punishment resumed 15 years ago. Family members wept and later said the process amounted to torture; they have sued alleging undue cruelty.

One report from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction suggests McGuire believed the signaling system he’d set up with his attorney — including the use of a thumbs-up gesture — could be used to save his life.

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.

Two prison employees reported hearing McGuire say that, if it weren’t for his daughter being present at his execution, he would “really put on a show.”

1
Text Only
World, nation, state
  • Woman, teenager found dead in Lake Erie; 2 missing

    The bodies of two of four missing boaters were recovered in western Lake Erie on Thursday, a day after the group left for an afternoon of fishing and sent pictures to relatives.

    April 18, 2014

  • Astronomers spot most Earth-like planet yet

    Astronomers have discovered what they say is the most Earth-like planet yet detected — a distant, rocky world that’s similar in size to our own and exists in the Goldilocks zone where it’s not too hot and not too cold for life.
     

    April 18, 2014

  • Lordstown eyes fall rollout of updated Cruze

    Production of the updated Chevrolet Cruze is tentatively set to begin early this fall at the General Motors facility in Lordstown, a plant official confirmed.
     

    April 17, 2014

  • A year after background check defeat, modest goals

    Democratic worries about this November’s elections, a lack of Senate votes and House opposition are forcing congressional gun-control supporters to significantly winnow their 2014 agenda, a year after lawmakers scuttled President Barack Obama’s effort to pass new curbs on firearms.
     

    April 17, 2014

  • College Board provides a glimpse of new SAT

    Anxious students — not to mention their parents — can get a heads-up for how the redesigned SAT might look in two years.
     

    April 17, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 12.51.22 PM.png VIDEO: Toddler climbs into vending machine

    A child is safe after climbing into and getting stuck inside a claw crane machine at a Lincoln, Neb., bowling alley Monday.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Poll finds Clinton trouncing entire GOP field

    Hillary Clinton isn’t only the strong front-runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, but she’s well ahead of every potential Republican rival, according to a new McClatchy-Marist Poll.
     

    April 16, 2014

  • Ukraine bares teeth against eastern uprising

    In the first Ukrainian military action against a pro-Russian uprising in the east, government forces repelled an attack Tuesday by about 30 gunmen at an airport, beginning what the president called an “anti-terrorist operation” to try to restore authority over the restive region.
     

    April 16, 2014

  • U.N. Security Council sees grim images of Syrian dead

    The U.N. Security Council fell silent Tuesday after ambassadors viewed a series of ghastly photographs of dead Syrian civil war victims, France’s ambassador said. The pictures showed people who were emaciated, with their bones protruding, and some bearing the marks of strangulation and repeated beatings, and eyes having been gouged out.

    April 16, 2014

  • U.S.: Russia causing Ukraine unrest

    The White House on Monday said there was “overwhelming evidence” that Russia is fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine, but suggested that President Barack Obama has not yet concluded that Vladimir Putin’s actions warrant broader sanctions on key Russian economic sectors.

    April 15, 2014

House Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video