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States to try new ways of executing prisoners. Their latest idea? Opioids.

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The synthetic painkiller fentanyl has been the driving force behind the nation’s opioid epidemic, killing tens of thousands of Americans last year in overdoses. Now two states want to use the drug’s powerful properties for a new purpose: to execute prisoners on death row.
As Nevada and Nebraska push for the country’s first fentanyl-assisted executions, doctors and death penalty opponents are fighting those plans. They have warned that such an untested use of fentanyl could lead to painful, botched executions, comparing the use of it and other new drugs proposed for lethal injection to human experimentation.
States are increasingly pressed for ways to carry out the death penalty because of problems obtaining the drugs they long have used, primarily because pharmaceutical companies are refusing to supply their drugs for executions.
The situation has led states such as Florida, Ohio and Oklahoma to turn to novel drug combinations for executions. Mississippi legalized nitrogen gas this s…

Ohio: Mother of death row inmate dies after his failed attempts to give her a kidney

Ronald Phillips
Ronald Phillips
The mother of a death row inmate has died after attempts by the inmate to donate his kidney to save her life.

Donna Phillips of Akron died Jan. 11 at age 68. Her son, Ronald Phillips, 42, is next on the list of Ohio death row inmates to die by lethal injection. His execution is scheduled for Jan. 12, 2017, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

The convicted murderer grabbed national headlines in 2014 after the state blocked him from donating his kidney to his ailing mother.

The state had given Phillips a deadline to donate his organ, and he did not meet the deadline.

Ronald Phillips was convicted in Akron of raping and killing his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter in 1993, when he was 19 years old.

A spokesperson for the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said Phillips will not be permitted to attend his mother’s funeral.

“Death row inmates are not eligible for funeral visits,” the spokesperson said in an email.

Phillips’ execution had been delayed so the state could allow him the time to donate his organ. His execution was then put on hold on Jan. 16, 2014, the day of the botched lethal injection death of Ohio convict Dennis McGuire. In that case, McGuire struggled and gasped for several minutes before dying after he was injected with a combination of drugs used for the first time anywhere in the United States.

Phillips had fought in court for decades to block his execution. His attorneys argued he should not be put to death because his upbringing led him to believe violent behavior was acceptable and normal. He accused his late father, William Phillips Sr., of sexually, physically and verbally abusing him repeatedly during his childhood.

Source: ohio.com, Nick Glunt, Beacon Journal staff writer, January 18, 2016

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