- Mostly clear
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio will use a dose of two drugs never tried before in a U.S. execution to put to death a condemned inmate who raped and killed his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter, the state prisons agency said Monday.
The agency made the decision because it couldn't obtain a supply of its former execution drug, pentobarbital, from a specialty pharmacy that mixes individual doses for patients, prisons spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said. The agency had considered using a compounding pharmacy after its supply of federally regulated pentobarbital expired last month.
Instead, the state will use an intravenous combination of midazolam, a sedative, and hydromorphone, a painkiller, in the Nov. 14 execution of Ronald Phillips of Akron.
Those drugs already are included in Ohio's untested backup execution method, which requires them to be injected directly into an inmate's muscle. No state has put a prisoner to death with those drugs in any fashion.
Phillips, 40, was sentenced to death for killing Sheila Marie Evans in 1993 after a long period of abusing her.
Attorneys for Phillips filed documents in federal court Friday asking a judge to let them expand a current lawsuit to challenge the use of compounded pentobarbital. Now that that option off the table, an updated complaint is expected soon.
The Friday filing also challenged the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction's decision to allow its director to delegate responsibilities for some execution duties. Phillips' lawyers say that breaks an agreement the agency made previously with approval by federal Judge Gregory Frost.
Ohio's revamped execution policy calls for it to try to buy specialty batches of pentobarbital from compounding pharmacies, which mix individual doses of drugs for specific patients. If that fails, the policy calls for the use of the two-drug approach.
A plan by Georgia to use a similar specialty batch of pentobarbital has been put on hold by a federal lawsuit challenging the state prison agency's refusal to identify the compounding pharmacy that provided the drug.
The lawsuit also questions the drug's safety and effectiveness.
Compounding pharmacies are under increased scrutiny following last year's meningitis outbreak that killed more than 60 people and sickened hundreds and was linked to contaminated ingredients at the New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts.
Phillips' lawyers have pushed for mercy for Phillips, arguing he was raped and beaten by his late father as a child and grew up in a chaotic, filthy environment.
The state says Phillips long denied suffering such abuse and raised it only as his execution became imminent.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
State officials are ready to release Ohio's latest monthly employment data.
The state says a record number of Ohioans died from heroin-related overdoses in 2012 as it released the newest available figures for a…
The chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court says divisions about the death penalty on a panel that spent more than two years studying capital…
A federal judge ordered Ohio to recognize the marriages of gay couples who wed in states that allow same-sex marriage.
A man is facing charges after deputies say he was flying a video camera-equipped drone that hindered the landing of a medical helicopter at…
Public health officials say a mumps outbreak in central Ohio has grown to more than 200 confirmed cases.
A veteran northeast Ohio appellate judge will sit in when the Ohio Supreme Court decides in a lawsuit against traffic camera enforcement.
A man accused of harassing a neighbor and her disabled children for the past 15 years sat at a street corner Sunday morning with a sign…
Police have found the body of a southwest Ohio woman who went missing last month and say they are investigating her death as a homicide.
A law proposed in the Ohio legislature could help you avoid speed traps and speeding tickets -- all with the flick of a switch.