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McGuire Executed in Ohio

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Andrew Welsh-Huggins reports for AP:

An Ohio inmate condemned to die appeared to gasp several times during his prolonged execution Thursday with the first use of a lethal injection process never before tried in the U.S.

Death row inmate Dennis McGuire made several loud snorting or snoring sounds during the more than 15 minutes it appeared to take him to die. It was one of the longest executions since Ohio resumed capital punishment in 1999.

Ohio officials used intravenous doses of two drugs, the sedative midazolam and the painkiller hydromorphone, to put McGuire to death. The method has been part of Ohio's execution process since 2009, though was never used.

The other side will surely try to make hay out of the breathing issues, but given that he was under a sedative at the time, there is little realistic doubt that this execution was well within the broad bounds permitted by the Eighth Amendment.  I've been known to make "loud snorting or snoring sounds" myself, or so I've been told.

And lest we forget what this is all about ...
McGuire, 53, was sentenced to death for the 1989 rape and fatal stabbing of Joy Stewart in Preble County in western Ohio. The newly married Stewart was eight months pregnant at the time.

Stewart's slaying went unsolved for 10 months until McGuire, jailed on an unrelated assault and hoping to improve his legal situation, told investigators he had information about the woman's Feb. 12, 1989, death. His attempts to blame the crime on his brother-in-law quickly unraveled and soon he was accused of being the Joy Stewart's killer, according to prosecutors.

More than a decade later, DNA evidence confirmed McGuire's guilt, and he acknowledged that he was responsible in a letter to Gov. John Kasich last month.

''One can scarcely conceive of a sequence of crimes more shocking to the conscience or to moral sensibilities than the senseless kidnapping and rape of a young, pregnant woman followed by her murder,'' Preble County prosecutors said in a filing with the state parole board last month.

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The (imagined) Horror of Dennis McGuire's Execution
Dudley Sharp

He didn't feel a thing.

Ohio justly executed rapist/torturer/murderer Dennis McGuire.

Unconscious, he snored and the media went apoplectic.

The Horror is that the media will have 10,000 more articles about the imagined suffering of this executed rapist/torturer/murderer than they did about the real suffering of his victims, Joy Stewart, her husband Kenny, unborn child Carl and their families and friends.

There is no indication that McGuire was conscious or in pain at any time after the first 2-3 minutes of the 25 minute execution process, as pharmacological realities would dictate (see below).

Do folks wheeze, snore, move or cough etc. while sleeping? Do those with opiate overdoses wheeze, snore, move, cough, have spasms, etc.? Of course, which is all that happened with McGuire, as some predicted.

The Associate Press witness:

"McGuire was still for almost five minutes, then emitted a loud snort, as if snoring, and continued to make that sound over the next several minutes. He also soundlessly opened and shut his mouth several times as his stomach rose and fell." "A coughing sound was Dennis McGuire’s last apparent movement, at 10:43 a.m. He was pronounced dead 10 minutes later." (OHIO KILLER EXECUTED WITH NEW LETHAL DRUG COMBO, ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS AP Legal Affairs Writer, The Daily Record, January 16, 2014 2:57PM

No evidence of consciousness or pain.

Possibly, someone in the media will look up the overdose properties of the drugs involved (below) and tell us how McGuire could, possibly, have been conscious. He couldn't have been.

The properties of the drugs and their overdosing effects are very well known - by no means an experiment.

FACT CHECKING: Midazolam, a sedative, & Hydromorphone, an opiate/painkiller

The Ohio lethal injection protocol is 10mg of midazolam & 40mg of hydromorphone, mixed together then injected.

The injection took 20 seconds.

The toxicity of benzodiazepines (including midazolam) overdose and risk of death is increased when combined with opiates and when used intravenously, with symptoms including respiratory distress, coma and death.

"More than 80 deaths have occurred after the use of midazolam . . . 78% of the deaths associated with midazolam were respiratory in nature." (MIDAZOLAM HYDROCHLORIDE: Human Health Effects, http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/search/a?dbs+hsdb:@term+@DOCNO+6751

"The initial intravenous dose for sedation in adult patients may be as little as 1 mg, but should not exceed 2.5 mg in a normal healthy adult.", Midazolam Injection,
http://www.drugs.com/pro/midazolam-injection.html

4 times that initial maximum dose was given to McGuire.

However, " . . . total dose >5 mg (of midazolam) "usually" (my emphasis) not necessary to reach desired sedation . . .", Medscape, midazolam (Rx) - Versed, IV, http://reference.medscape.com/drug/versed-midazolam-342907

Hydromorphone overdose,
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002633.html

"IV initial dose: 0.2 to 1 mg every 2 to 3 hours (given slowly over at least 2 to 3 minutes)", Hydromorphone Dosage, http://www.drugs.com/dosage/hydromorphone.html

40-200 times those dosages were given to McGuire.

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