Ohio has two dozen condemned killers with firm execution dates. With four months before the first one, it still doesn’t have the lethal drugs it needs to carry them out, the Associated Press reports. The state’s inability to find drugs has death penalty opponents calling for the end of capital punishment. Supporters say the state needs to keep looking or find alternatives to resolve penalties in cases that in some instances are decades old. “Rather than frustrate that process it would seem to me their goal ought to be to carry out that process,” said Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien, who’s contacted the prisons department, the attorney general and the governor’s office for updates on their progress finding drugs. He wants the state to consider nitrogen gas, approved by Oklahoma as an execution alternative.
On Jan. 21,Ohio is scheduled to execute Ronald Phillips for raping and killing his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter in 1993. The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction “continues to seek all legal means to obtain the drugs necessary to carry out court-ordered executions,” said spokeswoman JoEllen Smith. Last Wednesday, the Ohio Supreme Court set a March 2017 date for Gary Otte for the shooting deaths of two people in a 1992 robbery spree. The remaining executions are scheduled into 2019. The state hasn’t executed anyone since January 2014, when condemned killer Dennis McGuire gasped and snorted repeatedly during a 26-minute procedure with a then untried two-drug method.