When a criminal is convicted and faces execution, it is a difficult scenario for the family to endure. But when execution day comes and officials in charge of the execution botch things in a major way, it can cause serious emotional damage to that prisoner's family.
And it did - The family of the Ohio man, Dennis McGuire, who was executed with a new lethal mixture of drugs on Thursday is pursuing a lawsuit to assure that other death row inmates do not experience the same execution circumstances he did, the family and their attorney said Friday.
"I can't think of any other way to describe it than torture," said Amber McGuire, the adult daughter of Dennis McGuire, who was put to death on Thursday by use of a combination of drugs that had never been used for capital punishment before.
Dennis McGuire was sentenced to death for the 1989 rape and murder of a 22-year-old pregnant newlywed, Joy Stewart. Her sister, Carol Avery commented that although they are Christians and can forgive McGuire, her sister suffered terror and pain and that McGuire was treated more humanely as a death row inmate than he treated Joy.
McGuire’s lawyers tried to delay his execution, arguing that the new drug method could lead to a medical phenomenon known as "air hunger" and could cause him to suffer "agony and terror.”
Apparently they were right. It took 25 minutes for his death after the lethal drugs began flowing into his veins. This execution was noted as the longest on record since Ohio reinstated capital punishment in 1999.
Witnesses say that McGuire, 53, made "loud snorting noises" as if he was gasping and in extreme distress.
The killer combination of drugs used was the sedative midazolam and pain killer hydromorphone, a mix Ohio added as a substitute option in case it had difficulty obtaining pentobarbital, a drug whose manufacturer has objected to its use in executions.
But, lets not forget, the man was being executed for a horrific and painful death he committed to a young pregnant woman.
Assistant Attorney General Thomas Madden had argued that while the U.S. Constitution bans cruel and unusual punishment, "you're not entitled to a pain-free execution."
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