Ohio executions still on hold as state struggles to get drugs needed
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - We’re investigating the status of Ohio’s death penalty, since it’s been four years since the state’s last execution.
We found Ohio’s “unofficial” death penalty moratorium is continuing.
Execution dates for death row inmates continue to be pushed back and rescheduled again.
19 Investigates found there are no executions set for this year anymore, after the governor made some postponements.
Governor Mike DeWine points to the state’s continued struggle to get the drugs needed for lethal injection from pharmaceutical companies as part of the problem.
It’s an issue many other states are facing.
Quisi Bryan was set to be executed next month.
He shot and killed Cleveland police officer Wayne Leon back in 2000.
Bryan is now set to be executed in four years, in 2026.
19 Investigates found 129 Ohio inmates are on death row, including one woman.
Nine executions are set for next year, eight are scheduled for 2024,
10 executions are set for 2025 and five are on the list for 2026.
That’s 42 total executions scheduled so far.
We learned the first execution in 2023 is set for March.
Charles Lorraine was convicted of stabbing an elderly couple in Warren to death in 1986.
The execution of Melvin Bonnell is also set for next year.
Bonnell was convicted for the 1987 murder of Robert E. Bunner in Ohio City.
The latest execution date was just set this Wednesday for a convicted child killer.
The Ohio Supreme Court announced Danny Lee Hill will be put to death July 2026.
Investigators say Hill raped and murdered a 12-year-old boy in Trumbull County back in 1985.
He’s been on death row since 1986 and continues to appeal his conviction.
We discovered the average time an inmate spends on death row in Ohio has increased to about 20 years.
But only one of every six death penalties issued since 1981 have been carried out.
State officials are well aware of issues with the system, calling it “increasingly time consuming, costly and lethargic” in the 2021 Capital Crimes Annual Report.
The Death Penalty Information Center analyzed more than 400 Ohio death sentences and found the most likely outcome isn’t death.
Instead, the death sentence is often overturned and the defendant is resentenced to life or exonerated.
In 2020, DeWine urged lawmakers to find a different method for state executions.
From 1981 to 2021, 336 people received the death penalty in Ohio.
Here is the full statement we received from Governor DeWine’s Office:
Under current Ohio Law, capital punishment is still an allowable punishment for certain crimes, and lethal injection is the only permissible method of capital punishment. However, Governor DeWine has issued several reprieves to individuals with upcoming execution dates due to ongoing problems involving the willingness of pharmaceutical suppliers to provide drugs to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC), pursuant to DRC protocol for executions, without endangering other Ohioans who rely on the State to provide them with prescription drugs from those same suppliers.
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