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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.

Join the discussion

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Hamilton Chancey January 16 2014 at 4:04 AM

Tuff luck McGuire. I think you should suffer just as your victims did. Adios.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
Bruce January 16 2014 at 3:17 AM

A "tough childhood"? Too bad. No excuses for your barbaric crimes. You won't be missed.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
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!

Flag Reply +6 rate up
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

Flag Reply +7 rate up
Michael January 16 2014 at 4:24 AM

I really have no position on the death penalty. I don't want to spend tax dollars on these types of people keeping them alive and I don't understand why we spend much tax money defending them.
But please don't tell me that twinkies caused him to kill.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
ukcat1 January 16 2014 at 4:24 AM

Sodium Pentothal is what was used and is not longer manufactured. Anesthesia replaced this with Diprivan. It would make much more sense to use this than Versed and Dilaudid.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
aaldrew January 16 2014 at 2:53 AM

Why not inject him with window cleaner? It worked in "The Man With Two Brains".

Flag Reply +2 rate up
jesuaphn January 16 2014 at 2:55 AM

He needs to suffer. Revenge is what is all about. Let him burn at a stake. That's slow and painful.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
Craig January 16 2014 at 3:00 AM

the guy commited a very heinous act I agree with the governor all I can say is SEE YA

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
johnglewis1964 Craig January 16 2014 at 3:51 AM

All I can see is Fey. This is very serious, Craig, and it is these types of ridiculous arguments, that go unnoticed, and uncared for, that can lead to a cruel tyranny on the part of the U.S..

Flag Reply 0 rate up
jdreichert1 January 16 2014 at 3:03 AM

He should suffer the same fate his victim did.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
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