In case you missed it, Governor DeWine issued a reprieve to Warren K. “Keith” Henness on Friday, January 25. The governor cited concerns raised by a federal magistrate who ruled Ohio’s execution drug protocol is “painful, both physically and emotionally, including a sense of drowning and the attendant panic and terror, much as would occur with the torture tactic known as water boarding.”
The reprieve granted to Henness reschedules his execution from February 13 to September 12, 2019. The reprieve order also directs the Ohio prison agency to assess the state’s options for execution drugs and investigate possible alternative drugs that could be used.
What does all this mean? For sure, Ohioans can expect to hear about additional experimental, theoretical drug combinations. We can expect more litigation and arguments why this drug or that drug might work. We may also hear some legislators calling for a return to other methods like the electric chair. We cannot forget that in 2016, the director of the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association advocated for nitrogen hypoxia – literally a gas chamber.
We know better. We know that the death penalty is a failed policy that does not keep communities safe or help victims’ families heal. We know the death penalty costs taxpayers untold tens of millions of dollars more than alternatives. We know that innocent people have been and will continue to be sentenced to death for crimes they did not commit. That’s why OTSE will renew efforts to work with legislators and state leaders to do one thing: end the death penalty.
By Sister Martha Bertke
Assembly Directive: Stand with the marginalized, make a collective commitment to promote and witness nonviolence, and strive to effect reconciliation among God’s people.