Ohio death row inmate Dennis McGuire is scheduled to be killed on January 16 using an untested two-drug lethal injection because the state has run out of pentobarbital, the sedative it used to use for executions.
Lundbeck, the Danish company that makes pentobarbital, ordered that it not be used to execute prisoners in 2011, saying: "Lundbeck adamantly opposes the distressing misuse of our product in capital punishment."
In September, Ohio used its last dose of pentobarbital on Henry Mitts Jr. Rather than stop executing prisoners until it can get its hands on another supply or switch to an alternative lethal cocktail that has been used before, the state decided to try a new shot of midazolam and hydromorphone.
The "untested backup execution method," as the AP, which broke the news, called it, was first meant to kill Ronald Phillips in November, but his execution was delayed. Now it's McGuire's turn and Ohio still hasn't found a compounding pharmacy that will make its pentobarbital, as the resourceful Georgia, Texas and South Carolina have done.
So backup execution plan it is! And why wait? It's not like this is irreversible and Ohio can't change its mind during the process if things don't go as planned for whatever reason, right?
McGuire raped and murdered Joy Stewart in 1989. She was eight months pregnant at the time.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.