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Tennessee execution: Billy Ray Irick tortured to death, expert says in new filing

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Editor's note: Reporter Dave Boucher was one of seven state-required media witnesses at Irick's execution. 
Billy Ray Irick felt searing pain akin to torture before he died in a Tennessee prison in August, but steps taken in carrying out his execution blocked signs of suffering, according to a doctor who reviewed information about the lethal injection.
In new court filings entered late Thursday amidst an ongoing legal challenge of Tennessee’s lethal injection protocol, Dr. David Lubarsky said statements from people who witnessed the execution indicated the controversial drug midazolam failed to ensure Irick could not feel pain during his death.
As a result, the death row inmate “experienced the feeling of choking, drowning in his own fluids, suffocating, being buried alive, and the burning sensation caused by the injection of the potassium chloride,” Lubarsky wrote in the filing.
The document also says the state did not follow its own lethal injection protocol, raising questio…

Ohio Parole board: No clemency for death row inmate

Ray Tibbetts
Ray Tibbetts
The execution of a 59-year-old man who killed his wife and the elderly man she cared for now may go forward after Ohio's parole board recommended Friday that Gov. John Kasich deny clemency.

Ray Tibbetts, 59, is scheduled to be executed on July 26.

The constitutionality of the state's lethal injection process, however, is still being considered in federal court. 

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reviewing a judge's order that found Ohio's execution procedures unconstitutional. 

Kasich's office has said it believes its appeal will be successful, allowing the state to move forward with the first executions since 2014 – when a man suffered during an execution.

Tibbetts is on death row for the 1997 killings of his wife, Judith Sue Crawford, and 67-year-old Fred Hicks in an Over-the-Rhine home. 

Prosecutors said Hicks, who used an oxygen tank to breathe, may have been asleep when Tibbetts stabbed him multiple times. Three knives and a blade broken from a knife handle were left in Hicks' body.

In voting 11-1 to recommend that clemency be denied, the parole board's report called the killing of Hicks "particularly senseless and gratuitous."

During his more than six years as governor, Kasich has commuted the sentences of five death row inmates to life in prison without parole. 

He has allowed 12 executions to go forward.

Source: cincinnati.com, March 10, 2017

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