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McGuire estate sues to halt executions in Ohio

The estate of Dennis McGuire, the convicted murderer executed last week by a controversial new two-drug mixture, filed a lawsuit Friday in federal court demanding that Ohio halt further executions.

The suit also pins liability on Hospira, Inc., which attorneys Jon Paul Rion and Richard Schulte said is the manufacturer of the drugs used to kill McGuire.

The 38-page lawsuit electronically filed in United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio alleges that McGuire's 25-minute execution — Ohio's longest since reinstating executions in 1999 — was "cruel and unusual" punishment.

"The first cause of action deals with the constitutional violation where the state of Ohio caused a substantial amount of pain and suffering and it rose to the level that the Constitution itself is at issue," Rion said. "We know that for 25 minutes, Dennis McGuire was gasping for air, trying to raise off the gurney, clenching his fists and arching his back in an attempt to find oxygen.

"Initial reports from anesthesiologists and neurologists indicate that the actions of the clenching of the firsts and the arching of the back are clear indications of consciousness and suffering. One would be hard pressed to imagine a more inhumane form of execution than to than bind somebody to a table and deprive them of oxygen and allow them to slowly die in the presence of their family."

McGuire, 53 when he was pronounced dead Jan. 16 at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility near Lucasville, was convicted in Preble County for the 1989 murder of Joy Stewart of West Alexandria, who was nearly eight months pregnant when he raped her, cut her throat and left her by the side of the road near Eaton.

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