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High court rejects Ohio killer's last-minute plea

Attorneys: Dennis McGuire Will Face 'Agony And Terror' When Executed

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The state made preparations on Wednesday to use a never-tried lethal drug combination to put a man to death for the slaying of a pregnant woman that went unsolved until he inadvertently helped authorities, and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block the execution.

Dennis McGuire, jailed on an unrelated assault charge, told investigators he had information about the woman's Feb. 12, 1989, death. His attempts to blame the crime on his brother-in-law quickly unraveled, and soon he was accused of being Joy Stewart's killer, prosecutors said. More than a decade later, DNA evidence confirmed McGuire's guilt, and he acknowledged that he was responsible in a letter to Gov. John Kasich last month.

The state planned to execute McGuire on Thursday with a new process adopted after supplies of its previous drug dried up when the manufacturer put it off limits for capital punishment. The two-drug combination has never been used in a U.S. execution.

The state opposed McGuire's last-minute appeal, in which he claimed a jury never heard the full extent of his chaotic and abusive childhood.

"One can scarcely conceive of a sequence of crimes more shocking to the conscience or to moral sensibilities than the senseless kidnapping and rape of a young, pregnant woman followed by her murder," Preble County prosecutors said in a filing with the state parole board last month.

McGuire, 53, was moved from death row in Chillicothe on Wednesday morning to the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, where executions are carried out. He was calm and cooperative and requested a last meal that included roast beef and fried chicken, prisons spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said. He planned late afternoon visits with his son, daughter and other family members.

His attorneys argue he was mentally, physically and sexually abused as a child and has impaired brain function that makes him prone to act impulsively.

"Dennis was at risk from the moment he was born," the lawyers said in a parole board filing. "The lack of proper nutrition, chaotic home environment, abuse, lack of positive supervision and lack of positive role models all affected Dennis' brain development."

The U.S. Supreme Court gave no explanation in rejecting McGuire's appeal and denying a stay of execution.

The state says similar challenges have failed several times over the decades since Stewart's death.

Documents obtained by The Associated Press show McGuire unsuccessfully sought a reprieve in recent weeks to try to become an organ donor. In November, Kasich, a Republican, granted a death row inmate an eight-month reprieve to let the prison system study his request to donate a kidney to his sister and his heart to his mother. Kasich said McGuire couldn't identify a family member who would receive his organs, as required under prison policy.

Ohio officials planned to use intravenous doses of two drugs, the sedative midazolam and the painkiller hydromorphone, to put McGuire to death.

McGuire's attorneys say he is at substantial risk of a medical phenomenon known as air hunger, which will cause him to experience terror as he strains to catch his breath.

The state presented evidence disputing the air hunger scenario and saying McGuire waited far too long to file the appeal, which came this month.

A federal judge sided with the state and said the execution can proceed. At the request of McGuire's lawyers, Judge Gregory Frost on Wednesday ordered the state to photograph and then preserve the drugs' packaging boxes and vials and the syringes used in the execution.

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ilona marie January 16 2014 at 9:31 AM

I think, if any person able to figure that they committed the crime because of the physical, mental and sexual abuse they endured as a child, why didn't they seek medical and mental care, instead of going on a killing rampage. I am always suspicious when people under the shadow of punishment suddenly clear of how the crime they committed is actually somebody else's fault. If any person mentally able to figure that out, he/she could have done so before - of course a death sentence hang in' over one's head seem to clear the mind pretty well. Sorry Dude, the poor pregnant woman didn't get to plead her case, why she should not be raped and slain. Sleep tight.

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MIKE January 16 2014 at 6:15 AM

Can you actually beleive that a lawyer would actually make a statement that his client would suffer, what about the pregnant woman he raped and murdered how about her suffering , and the family and friends who have to suffer the rest of their lives thinking about her and her unborn child. They should tie his hand behind his back and put a clear plastic bag ovewr his head and let him suffocate. I hope to god that someone does the same to a member of that lawyers family. If the laws in this country were a lot tougher their would be less crime,clean out the jails KILL all people on death row and people in prison for life.

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pilot3388u January 16 2014 at 6:08 AM

Put him to sleep, take the organs folks need, discard the remains. Enough said.

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b2ran January 16 2014 at 5:55 AM

I always read these type stories. I know there are some that are like rabid dogs and need to be taken care of. A lot of cases are a crime of passion. There are many types of killers. Yes, we do waste a lot of taxpayers money on these cases, but the bottom line is if the Death Penalty was a deterrent we would no longer have a need for it.

As far as the method, isn’t it wonderful how clinical and sanitary the death penalty has become. The bottom line again is your killing a human being. I don’t think it has resurrected anyone to date, that was a victim. The families say they get closure, I wouldn’t know. Fortunately I’ve never been there.

I’ll admit all I know about is what I read, but I have read where innocent people have been released due to DNA evidence proving they are innocent. In this case they have this guy hands down with the DNA, so they say. You’ve still got to wonder with cases where an individual was literally railroaded by cops and prosecutors, who in my opinion need to be put in prison, but it generally turns out with an, oh well, we screwed up and it’s forgotten unless the former inmate sues the state or whoever. Sometimes I think they compensate them, but they can’t turn back the clock and give the person their years back.

Someone mentioned a bullet. That’s an option. I believe the Chinese and some other countries use a bullet to the back of the head. I think I recall they drag them out right after the sentence and carry it out, out back. That’s an option too.

I think we need two places. One for the Life Sentence criminals and one for the criminals sentenced to death. Go out in the middle of nowhere and we still have such places. Fence of sufficient area, put a moat around it with piranhas in it and a mine field on the outside of that. Have rockets mounted and ready to shoot down any helicopter or whatever tries to get in from the air. The moat and mine fields would have to be far enough out so that tunneling would be a life sentence. Give them a few tools and seed and say you’re on your own. Kill each other or survive, it’s up to you.

Think about it, death is too easy for them. Think about all the money we could save collectively around the U.S. Free up the supreme courts, prison systems, and any other expense on these criminals. If DNA clears them, if they are alive, go and fetch them out of the compound.

I don’t know the answer, but something needs to give.

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drkjr1 January 16 2014 at 5:43 AM

not enough executions and to long to carry out the sentence

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psycho January 16 2014 at 5:34 AM

good....let the bastard suffer!!!

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andytysor January 16 2014 at 5:18 AM

the killer will feel pain during the proccess....GOOD. his reprieve is the pain will end. what about the families pain of losing their daughter and grandchild. their pain doesnt end. anybody bemoning his pain should look at their thought proccess and relize how far out there they are.

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andytysor January 16 2014 at 5:12 AM

coulnt have said it better. eye for an eye but do it cheaper

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Hey,Grumpy January 16 2014 at 5:02 AM

Why should an execution feel good for a convicted killer when he caused not only pain to his victim,but to her family as well.Don't do the crime and you wont do the time!

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bar338jm January 16 2014 at 4:56 AM

Air Hunger Terror what did his victim feel anybody ever think about that he didn't care about her terror why worry about his shoot him it is cheaper let military have all death row inmates so snipers can have live fire training

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