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Another Ohio Execution

Quintuple murderer William Garner was executed Tuesday in Ohio, reports Eileen Kelley for the Cincinnati Enquirer. In 1992, Garner burned five children to death by setting fires to cover up a burglary.

Garner denies he intended to kill anyone.  Even assuming that is the truth, though, arson is one crime where the felony-murder rule is fully justified, especially when the building burned is a residence. The possibility of killing someone by setting a fire in these circumstances is so high that it really does not matter whether he specifically intended the death of the victims or simply didn't give a damn.  He is fully culpable for the resulting deaths either way.

Ohio used its unique one-drug protocol, and this execution apparently demonstrated the problem that the single massive dose of barbiturate can take a long time. The execution began at 10:21 a.m., and the time of death is officially 10:38, 17 minutes later. Even so, this problem is far less than the problems that have occurred with the three-drug method. Ohio has now racked up enough experience that the hypocritical shrieking about using untested methods on humans won't hold any water at all. (Not that it ever held much.) Other states should follow Ohio's lead.

For those who say that capital punishment is degrading, it seems to me that Garner went out with far more dignity than would have been possible with a life sentence.


The Washington State Department of Corrections has recently adopted the one-drug protocol in response to legal challenges to the three-drug protocol. Now the defense argument is that DOC lacked the authority to switch to the one-drug protocol (even though the defense previously argued that the one-drug method was preferable to the three-drug method from a "cruel and unusual punishment" standpoint).

Other states should switch if it's feasible.

That the Washington courts are tolerating this stuff is ridiculous. Brown should have been executed a year ago.

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