Dennis McGuire was executed by the State of Ohio for the sexual assault and murder of a woman. According to court documents Dennis McGuire would sexually assault and murder 21 year old Joy Stewart. Dennis McGuire would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death. Dennis McGuire would be executed by lethal injection on January 16, 2014
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A cocktail of lethal drugs began to flow into Dennis McGuire’s bloodstream shortly before 10.30am on Thursday morning. The 53-year-old convicted murderer from Ohio was to be the first prisoner executed with a new method of lethal injection, using an untested mix of the sedative midazolam and the painkiller hydromorphone.
Normally, the victims of lethal injection show movement in the early moments of their execution, and then lie still. McGuire, by contrast, remained motionless for approximately five minutes, before snorting suddenly and gulping for air.
McGuire had been sentenced to death for the brutal 1989 rape and murder of a young, pregnant newlywed, Joy Stewart. His final words were to Stewart’s family, who watched his execution, thanking them for the “kind words” they had offered in a letter to him. He then told his children “I’m going to heaven, I’ll see you there when you come.”
His daughter Amber watched alongside Stewart’s family as he gasped several times, before finally expiring at 10.53pm. Ms McGuire covered her ears to block out the sounds of her father’s last breaths. He had taken some 25 minutes to die.
“It was the most awful moment in my life to witness my dad’s execution,” Ms McGuire said in a statement later. “I can’t think of any other way to describe it than torture.”
At a news conference yesterday morning, Ms McGuire and her brother announced that they would pursue a lawsuit over the manner of her father’s execution. Ohio state is now expected to face a legal challenge to its plans for the February execution of another convicted murderer.
According to the Associated Press, the attorney acting on behalf of the McGuire family said that the execution had violated the dead man’s constitutional right not to suffer cruel or unusual punishment. McGuire’s own lawyer, Allen Bohnert, said his client’s death had been “a failed, agonising experiment”, and that “the people of the state of Ohio should be appalled at what was done here today in their names.”
Bohnert had argued before the execution that the new lethal injection method could cause “air hunger”, and inflict “agony and terror” on the prisoner as he fought for oxygen on the death stretcher. But the state’s Assistant Attorney General, Thomas Madden, was unmoved, telling McGuire: “You’re not entitled to a pain-free execution.” Just before the death penalty was carried out, Gary Mohr, Ohio’s prison director, said he believed McGuire’s execution would be “humane” and “dignified