Ohio executed its first inmate in three-and-a-half years late last month, using a new three-drug protocol, including midazolam, rocuronium bromide, and potassium chloride.
Forty-five-year-old Ronald Phillips was put to death for the rape and murder of Sheila Marie Evans in 1993.
Akron Beacon Journal reporter Jim Mackinnon, who witnessed the execution, reported that Phillips apologized to his victims’ family members, who were present, saying “I’m sorry to each and every one of you that you lived with this pain all those years.”
Mackinnon reported that Phillips “died quietly” during the 10-minute procedure.
It was Ohio’s first execution since 2014, when Dennis McGuire appeared to choke, and gasp for air in a 26-minute ordeal. The botched procedure resulted in a three-and-a-half-year moratorium, during which a death penalty task force examined the state’s death penalty scheme and issued a report aimed at insuring defendants’ rights were protected and that the innocent were not executed.
Members of the task force were among the tens of thousands who signed petitions protesting the resumption of executions, noting that few of the suggestions had been implemented, and none of the major ones enacted.
Phillips’ execution was the first of four executions the state has scheduled for this year. The state has 26 more executions planned through 2020. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, Ohio joins Texas and Oklahoma as the only states to have executed at least one prisoner each year from 2001 to 2014.
Ohio has 142 inmates on death row.