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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…

Group hopes to stop executions in Ohio, delivers petition with 100,000 signatures

A petition with nearly 100,000 signatures
A group delivered petition with nearly 100,000 signatures to the Governor's
office, hoping to stop executions resuming in Ohio. July 24, 2017.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Nearly a dozen anti-death penalty groups are hoping nearly 100,000 signatures will get Ohio Governor John Kasich to put the state's first execution in more than three years on hold.

Ronald Phillips, 44, is scheduled to die Wednesday for raping and beating his girlfriend's young daughter in Summit County in 1993.

"Any death penalty case has some pretty tough, terrible circumstances. You could also look at who is serving a life sentence without parole today and there really is no difference," said Kevin Werner, Executive Director with Ohioans To Stop Executions.

Phillips date with death was put on hold in 2014, after a federal judge stopped all state lethal injections, when a botched execution involving Dennis McGuire, who raped and killed a woman, gasped for breath after being given two drugs designed to take his life.

"Frankly, we don't have confidence, that the same mistakes made in the past won't be made again," said Werner.

Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections says it's made changes to its execution protocol to prevent further mishaps. A third drug has now been added to the lethal injection cocktail.

Monday, the group dropped off nearly 100,000 signatures to the Governor's office, requesting Kasich doesn't go through with resuming the state's death penalty.

"Ohio doesn't need the death penalty anymore, most of the capital punishment cases end up with life in prison without parole, or less," said Werner.

Equal Justice U.S.A., The American Civil Liberties Union in Ohio, and Amnesty International, among the groups that gathered signatures that were delivered to Kasich. ABC 6/FOX 28 contacted Kasich's office after the signatures were dropped off. A spokesman for the governor says he has no plans to change his decision.

The Governor will be skipping opening day of the fair to monitor events in Lucasville at the statehouse

Last week, Phillips legal team made a second appeal to the US Supreme Court requesting an emergency stay of his execution claiming he was under 21 at the time of the murder. Phillips was 19 when he killed his young victim.

SourceABC 6, July 24, 2017

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