U.S. District Judge Gregory L. Frost has extended Ohio’s moratorium on executions until Jan. 15, reports the Columbus Dispatch. Frost's order postpones the scheduled executions of three men this fall. The order was prompted by the continuing legal debate over lethal-injection drugs that have caused problems in executions in Ohio and several other states. In one recent execution in Oklahoma, two hours passed before the inmate died.
Frost wrote that the delay was needed “in light of the continuing need for discovery and necessary preparations related to the adoption and implementation of the new execution protocol.” In April, Ohio officials announced they would use the same drugs that were used in the troubled Ohio execution of Dennis McGuire on Jan. 16, but in larger quantities. McGuire, 53, was seen gasping, choking, clenching his fists and struggling against his restraints for more than 10 minutes after the administration of midazolam, a sedative, and hydromorphone, a painkiller. It was the first time those drugs were used in an execution in the U.S.