DeWine delays more executions

By: - September 5, 2020 12:15 pm

Cleveland Jackson, 42, of Lima, was scheduled for execution in January. His and two others’ executions have been delayed until 2023. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction photo.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Friday delayed three more executions, extending a more than two-year period during which nobody has been put to death by the state.

The governor announced the reprieves for the convicted murderers, citing the difficulty the state has had in obtaining drugs from manufacturers who contend that they’re not meant for use in the death chamber:

  • Cleveland Jackson was scheduled to be executed on Jan. 13, but now is slated to die on June 15, 2023. 
  • James O’Neal was scheduled to be executed on Feb. 18, but now is slated to die on Aug. 16, 2023. 
  • Melvin Bonnell was scheduled to be executed on March 18, but now is scheduled to die on Oct. 18, 2023. 

Ohio in recent years has had several problematic executions, including that of Dennis McGuire in 2014. The convicted killer gasped and choked for an extended period and lingered for 28 minutes after the death drugs were administered.

The last person to die in  the Ohio death chamber was Robert Van Hook, who also gasped and choked before succumbing on July 18, 2018.

When he came into office, DeWine delayed his first execution, that of Warren Keith Henness, days after news coverage of a U.S. magistrate’s finding that Ohio’s execution protocol was similar to waterboarding

A federal appellate court subsequently declared the method to be constitutional. But DeWine also has faced resistance from drug makers, who have threatened to stop selling Ohio their products for any purpose if Ohio insists on using their products to execute people.


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Marty Schladen
Marty Schladen

Marty Schladen has been a reporter for decades, working in Indiana, Texas and other places before returning to his native Ohio to work at The Columbus Dispatch in 2017. He's won state and national journalism awards for investigations into utility regulation, public corruption, the environment, prescription drug spending and other matters.