Halt Executions Using Inhumane Method

Lethal Injection

Target: Ohio Governor John Kasich

Goal: Halt executions that use a new combination of lethal injection drugs that cause a slow and painful death

An Ohio inmate was recently executed by lethal injection using a new and untested concoction of drugs and appeared to convulse and gasp for ten to fifteen minutes before being declared dead. Dennis McGuire, convicted in the 1989 rape and murder of the pregnant Joy Stewart, was injected with a combination of drugs that his lawyers claimed would result in McGuire suffocating to death in agony.

Recently, many states have had difficulty getting the standard three drugs that have previously been used in lethal injections, including the barbiturate pentobarbital. Several European manufacturers of the drug, such as Dutch manufacturer Lundbeck, have worked to prevent states from using it in capital punishment.

The Constitution provides protection against cruel and unusual punishment, a right that seems to be clearly violated when an inmate dies in apparent agony. McGuire’s injection procedure took a total of 24 minutes, about three times the 8.4 minute average cited in by a 2002 study by the Journal of Forensic Science.

Regardless of one’s personal beliefs on capital punishment, it is inexcusable and irresponsible for a government or any institution to use untested and unstudied drugs on humans for any reason, especially in such a grave procedure such as an execution. Dennis McGuire’s death was needlessly and inhumanely long and agonizing, and steps need to be taken to prevent another similar debacle.

Sign this petition to call for Ohio Governor John Kasich to stay all future executions in his state until the new drugs they intend to use in capital punishment are studied extensively to ensure that they provide for a quick and painless death, or until another source of pentobarbital can be acquired.


Dear Governor John Kasich,

Due the difficulties your state has had in attaining the requisite drugs used in lethal injections, you chose to go ahead with a new and untested combination of drugs in Dennis McGuire’s recent execution. McGuire appeared to gasp and convulse for nearly fifteen minutes and was not declared dead until nearly 24 minutes after the procedure began. This is an inhumane and barbaric way to conduct an execution, and further steps must be taken to ensure that future inmates are not subjected to an unnecessarily lengthy and agonizing death.

I am calling on you to stop all executions in your state until further studies and tests can be done to ensure a quick and humane death for those currently facing capital punishment in your state, or until you can find a find a new source for the standard drugs used in lethal injections in the past.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: hitthatswitch via TennesseeDeathPenalty

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  1. Please test the drugs you use to make sure they will not cause drawn out death. I know what they have done is terrible and they are being punished, but it should be done so that death is instant.

  2. Christine Stewart says:

    The combination of drugs may have caused a prolonged death, but it was NOT painful- the drugs were MIdazolam (which is like valium) and an opioid (I believe butorphanol)- which is like codeine. I am not saying it was right to have capital punishment, but the drugs in question are like drugs that people accidentally overdose and kill themselves with all the time. The drugs make you sleepy, and then slowly turn off the center in your brain that makes you breathe- so that is why he was gasping- not in pain, but because his brain was forgetting how to breathe….

  3. How many people have endured so much more during ordinary chemotherapy treatments? Just ask a survivor, the stories of side effects are all true and no one is protesting the inducing of such suffering to save lives.

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