As the controversy over lethal injection protocols continues to grow, Ohio has deferred the executions of all the seven jail inmates who are on death-row and are set to die in this year.
The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) late Friday said that the decision was taken in an attempt to provide more time for the state to comply with a new execution protocol as well as obtain a fresh execution drugs supply.
Earlier this month, the DRC temporarily suspended the joint use of hydromorphone (a painkiller) and midazolam (a sedative) for lethal injections after the execution of Dennis McGuire in January last year when the injection caused him gasping for air and struggling for nearly 25 minutes.
In May 2014, a federal judge asked Ohio to defer all the executions of prisoners on death-row in order to give their attorneys time for preparing challenges to the new procedures of the state.
On Wednesday, the US Supreme Court stayed the execution order for three death row inmates in Oklahoma until the justices rule on a separate challenge that involved a drug called midazolam, which has come under rigorous scrutiny after three problematic executions, including McGuire’s.
In 2014, the United States witnessed the lowest number of executions in the past 20 years.