ACLU Asks Kasich To Halt Executions In Ohio Through 2015

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UPDATED: Wednesday April 30, 2014 6:05 PM

In wake of a botched execution in Oklahoma Tuesday, opponents of the death penalty in Ohio have wasted no time in asking Governor John Kasich to stop executions at least through next year.

"They keep changing the protocol and they keep botching executions," said Gary Daniels, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Ohio.  "This is not working.  They really need to take a break at this point."

Daniels says Kasich and the Department of Corrections should halt executions until the methods can be thoroughly studied.

"They are constantly changing the ways they execute people and they're constantly getting it wrong," said Daniels.  "We now have at least four botched executions here in Ohio over several years.”

In response to the ACLU’s letter, Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols told 10TV, “The governor supports the death penalty and takes his responsibility of implementing it very seriously.”

Late Wednesday Kasich announced he had commuted the death sentence of Arthur Tyler to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Ohio has struggled implementing capital punishment over the years, including this past January when Ohio death row inmate Dennis McGuire reportedly made snorting noises during his 25-minute execution.

Department of Corrections officials declined 10TVs request Wednesday to go on-camera to discuss details of the execution.

Through a statement, spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said, "the Department remains confident that it conducted the execution in a humane, constitutional way and that the inmate was completely unconscious and felt no pain."

Still, Ohio announced this week it will increase the dosages of two lethal-injection drugs for future executions.

McGuire's execution is not an isolated case in Ohio.

In September 2009, the execution of Romell Broom had to be halted when executioners could not find a suitable vein to use for more than two hours.  Broom grimaced in pain while the execution was attempted.

In May 2007, prison staff also had trouble finding a usable vein on Christopher Newton's arms.  They stuck Newton more than 10 times with needles and the execution took nearly two hours.

And in May 2006, Joseph Clark screamed out that there was a problem with his execution.  The curtains were closed but witnessed reported hearing Clark moaning and crying out in pain.  It was determined that his vein collapsed during the execution process.

On Tuesday, convicted murdered Clayton Lockett died of a heart attack nearly an hour after Oklahoma authorities started a new three-drug lethal injection.

Prison officials had to stop the execution when Lockett began violently moving and mumbling after the drugs were administered.

"There was some concern at that the drugs were not having the effect, so the doctor observed the line and determined the line had blown," said Robert Patton, Oklahoma Dept of Corrections Director.

Oklahoma's governor has requested a full review.