Daughter: Ohio execution most awful moment of life

An Ohio inmate put to death for murder was tortured by his unusually slow execution, the man's daughter said Friday as she announced plans to file a lawsuit over her father's death.
Associated Press
Jan 17, 2014

 

Dennis McGuire's daughter, Amber, referred to the "agony and terror" of watching her father as he appeared to gasp in his final moments Thursday — using the same words the condemned man's attorneys used in trying to stop his execution using a previously untried method of lethal injection.

"It was the most awful moment in my life to witness my dad's execution," she said in a statement ahead of the news conference. "I can't think of any other way to describe it than torture."

The execution violated Dennis McGuire's constitutional right not to be treated or punished in a cruel or unusual way, said defense attorney Jon Paul Rion, representing McGuire's adult children.

McGuire's attorney Allen Bohnert called the convicted killer's death "a failed, agonizing experiment" and added: "The people of the state of Ohio should be appalled at what was done here today in their names."

It's almost certain lawyers will use McGuire's execution to challenge Ohio's plans to put a condemned Cleveland-area killer to death in March.

McGuire's lawyers had attempted last week to block his execution, arguing that the untried method could lead to a medical phenomenon known as "air hunger" and could cause him to suffer "agony and terror" while struggling to catch his breath.

A few minutes before McGuire was put to death, Ohio prison director Gary Mohr said he believed the state's planning would produce "a humane, dignified execution" consistent with the law.

McGuire, 53, made loud snorting noises during one of the longest executions since Ohio resumed capital punishment in 1999. Nearly 25 minutes passed between the time the lethal drugs began flowing and McGuire was pronounced dead at 10:53 a.m.

Executions under the old method were typically much shorter and did not cause the kind of sounds McGuire made.

Ohio prisons spokeswoman JoEllen Smith had no comment on how the execution went but said a review will be conducted as usual.

Prison officials gave intravenous doses of two drugs, the sedative midazolam and the painkiller hydromorphone, to put McGuire to death for the 1989 rape and fatal stabbing of a pregnant newlywed, Joy Stewart.

The method was adopted after supplies of a previously used drug dried up because the manufacturer declared it off limits for capital punishment.

McGuire's attorney called on Republican Gov. John Kasich to impose a moratorium on future executions, as did a state death penalty opponent group.

The move will likely echo across the country as other states contemplate new drug methods, said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, which opposes capital punishment.

"Judges will now realize that the warnings being raised about these untried procedures are not just false alarms," he said in an email. "States will now have more of a burden to show that they are using a well thought out best practice. "

What was particularly unusual Thursday was the five minutes or so that McGuire lay motionless on the gurney after the drugs began flowing, followed by a sudden snort and then more than 10 minutes of irregular breathing and gasping. Normally, movement comes at the beginning and is followed by inactivity.

"Oh, my God," his daughter, Amber McGuire, said as she watched his final moments.

In pressing for the execution to go ahead, state Assistant Attorney General Thomas Madden had argued that while the U.S. Constitution bans cruel and unusual punishment, "you're not entitled to a pain-free execution."

U.S. District Judge Gregory Frost sided with the state. But at the request of McGuire's lawyers, he ordered officials to photograph and preserve the drug vials, packaging and syringes.

McGuire, strapped to a gurney in the death chamber, thanked Stewart's family members, who witnessed the execution, for their "kind words" in a letter he apparently received from them.

"I'm going to heaven. I'll see you there when you come," he said.

Stewart's slaying went unsolved for 10 months until McGuire, jailed on an unrelated assault and hoping to improve his legal situation, told investigators he had information about the death. His attempts to pin the crime on his brother-in-law quickly unraveled, and he was accused of the killing.

More than a decade later, DNA evidence confirmed McGuire's guilt, and he acknowledged his responsibility in a letter to Kasich last month.

The death row inmate's lawyers argued McGuire was mentally, physically and sexually abused as a child and had impaired brain function that made him prone to act impulsively.

"We have forgiven him, but that does not negate the need for him to pay for his actions," Stewart's family said in a statement after the execution.

Comments

rbenn

And the pregnant woman he tortured and killed? No tears from me he got what he deserved, hell is where he is now

From the Grave

Yeah, I would have thought that knowing that your dad was a murderer would have been the worst moment in your life...
I guess that lawsuit was just too tempting.

beepx22

Nothing a $0.50 bullet wouldn't have fixed

anne822

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SoldOnAcorns

McGuire's attorney Allen Bohnert called the convicted killer's death "a failed, agonizing experiment"

No it wasn't ! He's dead now, so the execution went as planned !

bondgirlM

sounds like the words from the movie The Green Mile. Yes it was a success!

jennyn1977

I agree with assistant attorney general madden, they are not entitled to a pain free execution, nor should they be. he tortured and killed a pregnant woman and sat on death row for 25 years. so what if it took 25 minutes for him to die, at least he is dead. he killed someone and now the state of ohio has taken his life. I see no problems.

Kelly

It was slow and painful? Good.

bondgirlM

not slow and painful enough in my opinion. Think of what that unborn baby and it's mother went through.

ladydye_5

"The most awful moment in HER life"? What about the family of the woman/baby he raped and killed? Think that family had a most awful moment in life? She had a CHOICE to watch her father die. She was not required to be there. The woman he killed did not have that option. I have no sympathy for the daughter or the condemned killer. The family of the killer are just looking for a pay day now.

doppleganger

If it was so awful she should have left the room. Who would want to watch their father die in an execution anyway? I hope her lawsuit is thrown out.

justice_forall2014

This thing should have suffered the way his victim did. The daughter chose to watch him die, she knew the end result regardless of how he died. He should no longer be a burden to the tax payers by allowing a lawsuit to occur!

rottnrog

The punishment should fit the crime. He should have been stabbed to death.

jamo

Hey, you left out the rape part.

Erie County Resident

He showed no feelings for his victims so cry me a river.

When this moonbat files her frivolus suit against the state a class action suit should be filed against her and his estate for the victims pain & suffering.

dorothy gale

Who forced her to witness it? It was her choice, which was more than his victims had. As for feeling "terror," psychopaths don't feel human emotions. Agony? Oh well. Effing psycho coward can kill a pregnant woman but he can't take the pain of his own death? Too bad! So sick of hearing about this "cruel and unusual" crap. What these monsters do to their victims is cruel!!

Tom Sawyer

Sounds like lawyers chasing the ambulance to me! I bet this was in the works long before he was executed!

lmalley77

I agree with every comment here! I wish SR had a "like" button!! That girl that he raped and murdered, including her baby, didn't get to have a say in the terror or pain that they felt when he murdered them!!! And the sad part is, that unless a decent judge sees the daughter filing a lawsuit as frivolous, the family of this murderer COULD have a chance of becoming rich off of his death!! What kind of world do we live in where the feelings of the defendant and his family outweigh all of the tragedy and feelings of the family of the victim!?!?!? ESPECIALLY when DNA evidence proves BEYOND a doubt that the defendant is guilty!!!

RNR

This scumbags daughter said watching her father die in agony was torture. I’m positive it was torture for her, however to file a lawsuit regarding this is laughable. She was able to walk away from the room and not witness her fathers death.

He admitted to doing horrible horrible things. While he waited on death row for 25 years. Full healthcare for 25 years. 3 meals a day for 25 years. Warm bed to sleep in for 25 years. We have people right here in the United States that do not ever get those luxuries. Elderly choosing food/heat over medications they desperately need. So I’m sorry that I do not feel one single bit bad for his 25 minutes of so called “torture” They used oxycodone, He probably didn’t feel a thing!

torture: finding out your pregnant daughter was raped and murdered

torture: finding out your new wife and unborn baby was raped and murdered

torture: watching your mother/father/family member lay in a nursing home in their final days. They do not eat. They do not drink. Their mouths are swabbed with glycerin swabs to keep from drying out. Their skin begins to mottle and their breathing slows, until they finally take their last breath. This does not go on for 25 minutes. This goes on for DAYS. These things are torture. Not this man getting executed!

dorothy gale

LIKE^^

starryeyes83

He raped and stabbed a pregnant woman to death.

I wonder if anyone cares how agonizing HER death was?

Commenter

He murdered someone. What about that person's pain and suffering? Give me a break!

Julie R.

True he was a murderer and deserved to die, but it still doesn't take away the fact that using him as a human guinea pig was appalling. They should have never even attempted to try that method until further research was done and they were 100% certain on it.

ladydye_5

They were 100% certain...he is 100% dead. Just like in The Green Mile....He IS dead. It was a successful execution.

Darwin's choice

You going to volunteer?

justice_forall2014

Who else should be used as "human guinea pigs" than, if not the ones who have committed horrific crimes and are sentanced to death row? There is no way to be 100% sure as each human body is different than another. Too many variables.

candleburner

Who were they going to test it on to see if it worked or not and how effective it was going to be and how a person would react? It's not like this is something you can test on an animal, even if you wanted to or were pro-animal testing (which I don't know about you but I'm not). Most chemicals don't react the same way on a human as they do on animals and that's why most are no longer tested on animals.

That point aside - Boo flipping hoo that this mama and baby killer felt any pain at all while he was being put to death!!! And so what that his daughter thought it was torture to have to watch it. Did she think it was going to be easy no matter how it was done? Her father was a murderer!! He was being executed for his crimes, of course it wasn't going to be easy in any way shape or form!!! But she needs to stop and look at this thru the eyes of the family of the young mother that he killed. She was a newlywed and soon to be mother and he took their lives in cold blood. I'm sure that poor girl suffered longer than the 25 minutes he took to die so in my opinion he got off easy and she needs to move on from this whole thing and hopefully his victim's family can too.

SamAdams

Is it pleasant to watch somebody die? No, not even if he's a condemned killer. Did he DESERVE to suffer? Karma alone says he did. But the State (and we as a whole) are better than that! That's why it's mandated executions be humane. Now, was this execution inhumane? I don't see how. Sure, he gasped for breath. But he was unconscious the whole time! That's no different than somebody dying in surgery. Is it awful? Yes. Do they feel it? No. The end.

justice_forall2014

You make a great point. Gasping for breath is a natural body reflex during the dying process. It is not an indication the person was in pain or "torture" by any means. It will be interesting what other information is brought out later about this situation.

kris63063

Ohio should go back to a firing squad or death by hanging or how about starting up old "sparky". He deserves no mercy. He didn't show the person he killed any and he should be given any.

4-wheeler al

china, they send the family the bill.

Bottom Line

It's refreshing to see so many terrific and accurate comments. Except for Julie R that is.

WhatTheHeck

Get a life. Your father is a convicted murderer and rapist. Be proud of that you idiot.

thinkagain's picture
thinkagain

The death penalty has never brought back a life, never inspired anything but hate, as evidenced by the majority of these comments. It is also unfairly applied and it has killed many innocent people.

44846GWP

thinkagain, unless they are gay ,right...then kill them all....thats what god says, right? Lol!

justice_forall2014

So what is the answer to having scrum like this walk among us. If it were your family member I bet your reaction would be a little different. Especially since the family of the victim is essentially paying to give this man a free ride (tax payers) after what he has done. Someone who does acts such as the ones he has done needs to be removed.

Pterocarya frax...

I hope for your sake you never have to find out, but, god forbid, if it was your daughter, or your wife that was murdered, would killing the killer really make your life better, or solve your problems, or cure your sadness?

I don't know who said it, but I have always liked the statement:
"Wanting revenge doesn't make it right. It just makes me human"

We as a civilized society need to rise above those feelings.

"I’m here to tell you, as the Mother of a homicide victim, that the death penalty brings as much pain as it does relief, that it creates an entirely new layer of pain."— Janice Greishaber, whose daughter, Jenna, was murdered.

http://ejusa.org/learn/victims Read this site, and then come back and comment.

Pterocarya frax...

As much as it pains me to say it...thinkagain is correct.

"An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind." Gandhi

"Revenge only engenders violence, not clarity and true peace. I think liberation must come from within." Sandra Cisneros

SamAdams

Capital punishment isn't "an eye for an eye" punishment nor is it revenge (though I suspect some victims' families consider it to be such). It is rather an extreme measure ensuring the bad guy doesn't ever get to do bad things again.

Many death sentences have been imposed due in part to the lack of the option of life in prison without the possibility of parole. When faced with the chance certain criminals might ever be loose in society again, juries opted for the ultimate penalty. Many states have now addressed that loophole.

Death sentences also used to be a lot cheaper than incarceration because they were actually carried out. Now the condemned gets a million appeals, stays, and delays.

I remain in favor of the death penalty for those whose crime is bad enough. I do NOT, however, agree with the imposition of the death penalty when someone is found guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt." While that's enough for imprisonment, I believe that death needs to require 100% certainty. In the absence of such certainty, life sentences should be meted out instead.

I would note specific to this case, however, that guilt WAS 100% certain, and that his crimes WERE especially heinous...

44846GWP

How wonderful to read all the comments by people who I'm sure consider themselves to be "Christian". Lol!

JudgeMeNot

How wonderful to read all the comments by people who I'm sure consider themselves to be "idiots". Lol!

thinkagain's picture
thinkagain

Judging by all these judgmental comments, I judge that judging is OK…as long as you’re not a judgmental Christian. ◔_◔

Fireside

Google BLACK DOLPHIN

Fireside

Google BLACK DOLPHIN

mikeylikesit

they gave this bozo 2 different drugs, enough to kill him. he may have grunted and groaned and farted, but I bet he felt no pain..

KURTje

Again....put this to a vote by the populace. Like marihuana being legal, the people want criminals like this destroyed; they value no one except self. Glad he is gone.

bondgirlM

I wish they would have televised it. I would give anything to see Curtis Clinton die. Is there a way we can request that?

Pterocarya frax...

Here is a list of the 20 countries that carried out executions in 2012, followed by the number of executions. When we execute people, it puts us in a real elite class, doesn't it?

Afghanistan (14), Bangladesh (1), Belarus (3+), China (2000+), Gambia (9), India (1), Iran (314+), Iraq (129+), Japan (7), North Korea (6+), Pakistan (1), Palestine (6), Republic of China (6), Saudi Arabia (79+), Somalia (6+), South Sudan (5+), Sudan (19+), UAE (1), USA (43), Yemen (28+).

44846GWP

The company we keep.....we should be so proud.

Babo

Thank you for posting this list. It's interesting to note that none of these countries including the US have a strong moral foundation or value education as indicated. Conspicuously absent from the list are European nations,South American nations, Central American nations and Canada.

America as a nation appears to be sociopathic.

starryeyes83

Ya know, they could dust off Ol' Sparky and bring him outta retirement then all these lowlife scum could RIDE THE LIGHTNING into HELL!

The sooner the better, I say.

NO sympathy here. ONLY for his victims as it took 25 years to rid the world of this monster.

Retiree

To tell you the truth, I wish that scum would have taken longer to die. A piece of trash like him should have been put to death years earlier and suffered more for what he did to that poor woman. Rest in he!!

Retiree

To tell you the truth, I wish that scum would have taken longer to die. A piece of trash like him should have been put to death years earlier and suffered more for what he did to that poor woman. Rest in he!!

Julie R.

From a moral standpoint he deserved to be tortured; however, the law in the state of Ohio says an execution must be carried out in a humane and dignified manner.

His attorneys are going to have a field day.

Susi1110

How is it that a convicted and condemned killers family should be monetarily rewarded because his penalty took too long and he suffered?? That is a bunch of BS if you ask me.

starryeyes83

How about the suffering of his victims and the taxpayers which paid to house and feed him for 25 years?