A man executed yesterday in Ohio for killing a cellmate chatted and laughed with prison staff as they struggled to find veins in his arm to deliver the deadly chemicals, taking so long that that he was given a bathroom break, reports the Associated Press. Christopher Newton, who had insisted on the death penalty as punishment for choking and beating the man after arguing over a chess game, died at 11:53 a.m., nearly two hours after the scheduled start of his execution. The execution team stuck him at least 10 times with needles to place the shunts where chemicals are injected.
Staff members acted “out of an abundance of caution,” and the amount of time they spent ensuring two veins were open prevented problems with the injection, said a spokesman for Gov. Ted Strickland. A group of Ohio inmates has filed suit alleging that the state’s injection method is unconstitutionally cruel. The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio called on Ohio to stop executions because of yesterday’s problems.