Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Hide Caption

Ohio: Child killer to get untried 2-drug injection

a a a a
Share this story

 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.

Print this article

Comments

Hmm... It looks like you’re not a WCPO Insider. or Subscribe now to contribute!

More Ohio News
Ohio state park facilities to be modernized
Ohio state park facilities to be modernized

State officials are preparing to invest $88.5 million to upgrade and modernize trails, campgrounds and recreational facilities in Ohio's…

More than 73K vote early in Ohio primary
More than 73K vote early in Ohio primary

More than 73,000 Ohioans have voted early so far in the state's primary election next month.

Court: Ohio man must pay $489,000 for false call
Court: Ohio man must pay $489,000 for false call

An appeals court says an Ohio man whose false distress call triggered a massive, 21-hour search on Lake Erie must pay $489,000 to the U.S.…

Steubenville coach gets jail in rape case
Steubenville coach gets jail in rape case

A volunteer football coach whose house was the scene of a party that preceded the rape of a girl by two high school football players has…

No contest plea expected in football rape case
No contest plea expected in football rape case

A volunteer football coach whose house was the scene of a party that preceded the rape of a girl by two high school football players is…

Should OH politicians be able to lie in ads?
Should OH politicians be able to lie in ads?

A debate over what is truth and the nature of free speech born out of the 2010 campaign of former U.S. Representative…

Gender gap widens in Ohio statewide offices
Gender gap widens in Ohio statewide offices

The average pay gap between men and women in the offices of four of Ohio’s five elected statewide officials has grown to almost $10 an hour.

Gender gap under OH governor nearly $10 an hour
Gender gap under OH governor nearly $10 an hour

 A newspaper investigation has found the average pay gap between men and women in the offices of four of Ohio's five elected…

Want to name a blimp? Goodyear opens voting
Want to name a blimp? Goodyear opens voting

Ohio-based Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. has narrowed the list of possible names for the new airship that is the next generation of its…

Ohio woman finds bird leg in Dole spinach bag
Ohio woman finds bird leg in Dole spinach bag

An Ohio woman, who eats a salad nearly every day and makes spinach smoothies, has lost her appetite for her favorite vegetable after making a…