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Pharmacologists Ask U.S. Supreme Court To Block Ohio Execution

lethal injection chair
Wikipedia Commons

Fifteen pharmacology professors have filed a brief at the U.S. Supreme Court arguing to stop Wednesday’s scheduled execution of a condemned child killer from Akron.

The professors said in the brief filed Tuesday that the sedative midazolam has a troubling record, is incapable of inducing unconsciousness or preventing severe pain, and is therefore unsuitable as an execution drug.

Midazolam is the first of three drugs in Ohio’s lethal injection protocol. Objections over its use are part of the reason Ohio hasn’t had an execution in more than three years.

Ronald Phillips is scheduled to die Wednesday for the 1993 rape and killing of his then-girlfriend's three-year-old daughter.

He and two other inmates have asked the U.S. Supreme Court for stays as they appeal the use of midazolam in the lethal injection process.

Phillips is also pursuing a separate age-related stay in which he’s asking the court to block his execution because he was 19 at the time of the killing. Ohio law allows the execution of inmates over the age of 18, but Phillips’ attorneys argue the minimum age should be 21.

Clare Roth was former All Things Considered Host for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU in February of 2017. After attending the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, she returned to her native Iowa as a producer for Iowa Public Radio.