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Ohio has scheduled 10 death-row prisoners for lethal injections starting in February, ending a yearlong delay sparked by controversy over an unusually long lethal injection using an untested drug cocktail. Dennis McGuire took 25 minutes to die and appeared to gasp for breath after being injected with hydromorphone and midazolam in January — the first in a spate of problematic executions that have focused new attention on capital-punishment protocols. The state insisted McGuire didn't suffer but nevertheless opted to increase the drug dosage for the next execution, and a court ordered that no one be put to death before Jan. 15 while the revised protocol is implemented.
The next inmate scheduled for execution is child killer Ronald Phillips on Feb. 11. Phillips, who raped and beat to death his girlfriend's three-year-old, was supposed to be the first person executed with midazolam and hydromorphone, but he got a reprieve when he asked to donate his organs. Although his request was eventually rejected, the delay meant McGuire was executed before him.
The two drugs that will be used on him are the same ones used in a July lethal injection in Arizona, where officials used 15 doses in an attempt to kill Joseph Wood over the course of two hours before he was pronounced dead.
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