YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – With Arizona now having what some are calling a botched execution under its belt, and sharing in other state’s trials with lethal injection, more states are being forced to make experimental lethal cocktails to kill their most violent offenders.
In Arizona Wednesday, inmate Joseph Rudolph Wood was the latest to be put to death with a new mixture of drugs. States had to come up with an alternative after a Britain pharmaceutical company withdrew their concoction for use in executions last year.
Eyewitnesses say they could see and hear Wood breathing and gasping for air during the nearly two hour ordeal.
“He closed his eyes. He went to sleep, and then he started gasping and did so for more than an hour and a half,” said a witness.
Arizona’s botched execution is the third one of the year. The others were in Oklahoma and here in Ohio. A federal judge in Ohio ordered a temporary ban on executions earlier this year after convicted killer Dennis McGuire gasped for 26 minutes during his execution in January.
Former Lawrence County District Attorney Matt Mangino says states need to find an alternative quick.
“To have that happen and continue to happen in such a short space of time is a concern,” Mangino said. “The 8th Amendment requires these executions to be carried humanely, but the question is what is humane.”
Some family members of victims are less concerned about the condemned killers’ rights, or the humane aspect of their deaths.
“Everyone is more worried about did he suffer? Who really suffered were my dad and my sister when they were killed,” said Jeanne Brown.
Brown’s father and sister, Eugene and Debra Dietz, were shot to death in 1989 at the family’s automotive shop in Tucson.
How soon capital punishment states will find a new solution or right mixture is anyone’s guess. But it may not come in time for Ohio’s next execution scheduled for September 18, 2014.