Today’s execution of Michael Benge means that Ohio has executed the most prisoners in one year–eight– since 1949, says the Columbus Dispatch. Sixty-one years ago, 15 men were put to death in the state’s electric chair, which is no longer used. In the modern era – since the state resumed capital punishment in 1999 – the most executions in one year, until this year, was seven in 2004. The pace of executions has picked up in the past two years. Another is scheduled for Nov. 16.
More executions are scheduled early next year. In addition, the Ohio public defender’s office says an additional 20 or so death-penalty cases are close to exhausting all appeals, meaning that execution dates could be set in the near future. Benge, 49, was sentenced to death for murdering his girlfriend in 1993. The Ohio Parole Board voted 9-0 against clemency, concluding that Benge “lied to investigators and to the court, and he continues to circumvent the system by telling partial truths to this Parole Board in order to convey remorse and responsibility.” He was the 41st person executed since 1999 and the 356th since the state began executions by electrocution in 1897. Killers were hanged before that.