MORE OHIO DEATH ROW PRISONERS EXONERATED OR REMOVED THAN EXECUTED
March 31, 2017:
The 2016 volume of Attorney General Mike DeWine's "Capital Crimes Annual Report," released on Friday, said there have been 328 death sentences handed down in Ohio since 1981. Less than 20 % of those people have been put to death. (Source: Columbus Dispatch, 31/03/2017)
Ohio's death row currently houses 138 men and 1 woman. 4 people were added to death row last year. Over the same period, more convicted killers were exonerated or removed from death row by judges (75) than were executed (53). Another 27 men died in prison from disease or suicide, and 19 received gubernatorial commutations, wiping out their death sentence. The real question is whether the state will proceed with 6 executions set for this year, beginning with Ronald Phillips, scheduled to be lethally injected May 10. Phillips was sentenced to death for beating, raping and murdering his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter in 1993. The state had trouble until recently acquiring sufficient supplies of drugs to proceed with executions. Now, although prison officials have procured a drug supply, the process is stalled in the federal courts because of an appeal filed on behalf of several death row inmates. Phillips' case was 1 of 8 executions delayed by Gov. John Kasich on Feb. 10 because of the continuing litigation. Ohio hasn't had an execution since Jan. 16, 2014, when Dennis McGuire choked, gasped and struggled against his restraints for much of the 26 minutes it took for him to die. Midazolam was 1 of the drugs used to execute McGuire. The state now plans to use either a single dose of thiopental sodium or a single dose of pentobarbital. The alternative is to use a 3-drug combination of midazolam, to render the prisoner unconscious, followed by 1 of 3 paralytic drugs, vecuronium bromide, pancuronium bromide or rocuronium bromide, with a final drug, potassium chloride, to stop the heart. DeWine's report showed there were 19 commutations by 4 governors, including 5 by Kasich; 9 inmates were ruled ineligible for execution because of intellectual disability; and 4 are pending re-trial or re-sentencing.
The report said the average age of the 53 executed inmates was 45.7 years.
There were 19 blacks and 34 whites put to death since 1999, all males. Those executed spent an average of about 17 years on death row. Of 85 victims of those executed, 66 were adults and 19 were children; 1/3 were black and 2/3 white or other races. There were 42 males and 43 females murdered, the report said.
Ohioans to Stop Executions issued a statement in response to the capital crimes report, saying the death penalty "continues to decline in nearly every measurable way." "Ohioans accept that capital punishment is coming to an end," said Kevin Werner, executive director of the organization. "Our state and county coffers will welcome the cost savings and more sound public policy. The real question is how many more years will we tolerate the enormous costs, the bias, and the risk of executing innocent."