Ohio executions have been put on hold for 2 1/2 months after a federal judge said he wanted to hear arguments over the state’s new lethal injection procedures, the Associated Press reports. The order delays executions scheduled for July and August while attorneys prepare filings about the state’s decision to boost the dosages of its lethal injection drugs.
The order by federal judge Gregory Frost in Columbus affects the state’s latest death penalty policy change, announced in late April. Ohio uses two drugs injected simultaneously in executions. The policy change considerably increases the amount of the sedative and raises the amount of the painkiller. The update followed the Jan. 16 execution of Dennis McGuire, who repeatedly gasped during the record 26 minutes it took him to die. The state said it was making the changes “to allay any remaining concerns” after McGuire’s execution, though it stood by the way McGuire was put to death.