The state on Friday rescheduled executions for 7 death row inmates as it tries to find new lethal drugs, meaning no inmate will be put to death in Ohio in 2015.
The announcement affects 6 executions this year, including 1 set for Feb. 11 for condemned child killer Ronald Phillips, and 1 previously scheduled for 2016 that was pushed farther back.
The move, which was expected, follows a federal judge's previous order delaying executions while the state puts a new execution policy in place, the state said.
The delays also allow the state time to find supplies of new drugs, according to the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
The new execution policy calls for Ohio to use drugs it doesn't have and has had difficulty obtaining in the past.
The delays mean that for the 1st time Ohio won't execute anyone in a calendar year since the state resumed putting inmates to death in 1999. The state put 1 inmate to death last year and 3 in 2013. A total of 11 executions are scheduled for 2016.
Under the revised schedule, the next execution is Jan. 21, 2016, when Phillips is scheduled to die for the 1993 rape and killing of his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter in Akron.
Tim Young, the state public defender, applauded the move, saying there was no need for executions "until we have answers to the numerous legal and medical questions posed by lethal injection."
Earlier this month, the state ditched its 2-drug method after problematic executions in Ohio a year ago and Arizona in July. Ohio's supplies of those drugs, midazolam, a sedative, and hydromorphone, a painkiller, were already set to expire this year.
Underscoring concerns about midazolam, the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this week ordered Oklahoma to postpone lethal injections executions using the drug until the court rules in a challenge involving midazolam.
Ohio's execution policy now calls for it to use versions of thiopental sodium or compounded pentobarbital, neither of which it has.
Death penalty experts question where Ohio would find supplies of thiopental sodium, saying it's no longer available in the U.S. and overseas imports would run afoul of importing bans.
The state also can't obtain compounded pentobarbital. A law that was enacted last month shielding the names of companies providing drugs was aimed at finding drug makers willing to provide pentobarbital.
Online: Ohio execution schedule: http://www.drc.ohio.gov/Public/executionschedule.htm
Source: Associated Press, January 31, 2015
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