OHIO (USA): HOURS BEFORE EXECUTION INMATE ATTEMPTS SUICIDE IN CELL
March 8, 2010: Just hours before Ohio death row prisoner Lawrence Reynolds was to begin preparations for his execution, authorities found him unconscious on his cell floor after an apparent drug overdose.
His execution has now been delayed while the 43-year-old, sentenced to death in 1994 for murder, recovers sufficiently to return to prison and be executed, prison authorities told AFP.
Reynolds "was found unconscious in his cell at approximately 11:30 pm last night," Julie Walburn, a spokeswoman for Ohio prison authorities said.
"We are suspecting self-injurious behavior, possibly an attempted overdose," Walburn said, though she declined to detail what drugs Reynolds had taken.
"At this point he is stable, in stable condition, and is showing signs of consciousness," she said. Ohio Governor Ted Strickland ordered Reynolds's execution be delayed for a week while he recovers.
"The execution will occur March 16 about 10:00 am. That would give the inmate time to be released from the hospital and our staff the time that we need to prepare for carrying out an execution," Walburn said.
Prison authorities are now investigating how Reynolds was able to procure and ingest the drugs.
He was under constant surveillance at the time of the overdose, as is standard practice for Ohio death row prisoners in the 72 hours before they are executed.
The reprieve is the second time Reynolds's execution has been put on hold.
He was originally scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on October 8, but received a first delay while new execution protocols were drawn up in response to a botched lethal injection on September 15, 2009. (Sources: Afp, 08/03/2010)