Ohio authorities postponed a scheduled execution while prison officials continue retooling the state’s lethal-injection protocol to meet a federal judge’s rules. U.S. District Judge Gregory L. Frost, through an agreement with Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, stopped the Feb. 22 execution of Michael Webb, and permitted him to join with other death penalty defendants who contest the state’s execution methods, reported the Columbus Dispatch
“We felt we had no choice,” DeWine said. “We’re not going to carry out another execution without it being perfect.”
DeWine said the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction has progressed in refining the procedures, but “we’re not quite done with that.”
Webb, 63, was sentenced to death for setting fire to his family home, causing the death of his three-year-old son Mikey. Webb insists he is innocent and someone else set the fire.
Frost also issued a decision this month that criticized the state for failing to follow protocol in the Nov. 15 execution of Reginald Brooks at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility near Lucasville.
The state will continue its appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Charles Lorraine. Frost postponed Lorraine’s execution because of the ongoing lethal injection debate.
“These are constitutional issues that have to be pursued,” DeWine said. “Our procedure is constitutional.”
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