Ohio is scheduled to execute Ronald Phillips, 43, on Wednesday after his final appeal attempt to the Supreme Court was rejected. Phillips was convicted of raping and killing his girlfriend's young daughter in 1993.
This will be the state's first use of capital punishment in three years after a 2014 execution by lethal injection took five times as long as anticipated and caused the inmate, Dennis McGuire, visible distress. "He started struggling for breath," said Father Lawrence Hummer, who witnessed the botched execution. "I was trying to calm his children down when all of a sudden I heard audible gagging. I thought it was another witness, but when I looked back to [McGuire], he was the one gagging."
Anti-death penalty protesters have assembled outside the prison where Phillips is held. The execution was originally set for 10 a.m. Eastern, but it was slightly delayed to give Phillips more time to visit with his family.