Ohio executed Richard Wade Cooey III this morning, forever silencing his argument that lethal injection is a cruel and flawed process that can cause an agonizing death. The execution came just over 22 years after Cooey and a juvenile friend abducted, raped and brutally murdered two two University of Akron coeds. He was the first Ohioan put to death in 18 months after a prolonged national debate on lethal injection that ended this year when the U.S. Supreme Court found it constitutional.
The Ohio Supreme Court rejected Cooey’s appeal to consider his request to use a single massive dose of sodium thiopental, an anesthetic, instead of the three-drug cocktail used by Ohio and most all other states. The other drugs are pancuronium bromide, which causes paralysis, and potassium chloride, which causes cardiac arrest. Cooey, 41, based his appeal on a June ruling that the three-drug protocol could cause an “agonizing and painful death,” rendering the process unconstitutional. The Associated Press reports that Cooey, who is 5-foot-7 and weighs 267 pounds, argued that he was too obese to be executed.