COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- A death row inmate sentenced to die for raping and killing a 3-year-old girl is expected to testify at a hearing in federal court Friday as his lawyers challenge the state's new, never-tried lethal injection system.
Attorneys for condemned killer Ronald Phillips want a federal judge to delay Phillips' Nov. 14 execution while they gather evidence as part of their lawsuit against the two-drug process.
The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction announced a new execution policy last month and said Monday that it would use that system's second option: a combination of a sedative and painkiller never tried before in a U.S. execution.
Phillips' attorneys say the department's announcements came too close to the execution date to allow a meaningful challenge. The state says nothing is substantially different about the new system.
Judge Gregory Frost originally granted Phillips permission to testify in person, then switched to the video testimony when it was clear courtroom technology could handle the unusual arrangement. There are no recent examples of Ohio death row inmates testifying in person or by video in federal court cases.
Phillips' attorneys planned to challenge the state's first choice for a new execution drug: a specialty dose of pentobarbital mixed by a compounding pharmacy.
The hearing Friday will focus on the new, two-drug method, but those arguments likely won't go away. Ohio gives itself the option before each execution to say whether it has obtained those compounded doses. If not, it moves to the second, two-drug option.
Attorneys for Phillips are also fighting the state's decision to allow the prisons director or death house warden to delegate responsibility for changes in the execution process. That could include any deviation from the policy, down to paperwork documenting a particular step. The attorneys say that violates previous agreements approved by Frost.
The two drugs Ohio is proposing to use on Phillips will cause him to stop breathing within a few minutes, an anesthesiologist said in a statement Thursday as part of a filing by the state in support of the new method.
Irreversible brain and heart damage will follow and the inmate will die a few minutes later, according to University of Massachusetts doctor Mark Dershwitz.
The drugs are midazolam, a sedative, and hydromorphone, a painkiller.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
“It is a big campus but confined to a small space in the city," she said. "Whenever you have a highly infectious disease on a…
Ohio officials say the state's unemployment rate dropped slightly in January to 6.9 percent.
Ohio's largest natural gas utility is blaming the colder-than-normal winter for higher bills about to be paid by residential customers on…
From our 9 On Your Side Severe Weather special, in the video player above are stories about preparing for severe weather, and staying safe…
A central Ohio principal says she suspended a 10-year-old boy from school for three days for pretending his finger was a gun and pointing it…
Gas prices in Ohio continue to rise.
Ohio is turning 211 years old with this year's Statehood Day celebration.
Two local state representatives want to see language on the back of provisional ballot envelopes changed because they believe it's…
Ohio insurance officials say the early January polar vortex deep freeze will end up being one of the costliest winter storms in the state in…
The father of one of three teens killed in a northeast Ohio school shooting was found dead Thursday, the second anniversary of his son's…