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Published: Wednesday, 3/17/2010

Ohio executes prisoner who tried to overdose on pills


LUCASVILLE, Ohio - A death row inmate who tried to kill himself last week by overdosing on pills as his legal challenges ran out was executed yesterday for robbing and strangling his neighbor in 1994.

Lawrence Reynolds, Jr., 43, was executed by injection at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility nine days after prison guards found him unconscious in his cell.

Ernie Sanders, a spiritual adviser who met with Reynolds in prison, said Reynolds wanted to die alone, not in the state's death chamber.

"He just didn't want his last act of life to be what he considered to be a sideshow or a circus," Mr. Sanders said.

Reynolds became the fourth inmate to die by Ohio's new injection procedure, which uses one drug instead of three.

Like the others, his death occurred quickly.

Reynolds was convicted of killing Loretta Foster, a 67-year-old widow who baby-sat children in her neighborhood and lived three doors down from him in Cuyahoga Falls.

Prosecutors said Reynolds was an alcoholic who was out of work and needed money for booze. He forced his way into Foster's house, strangled her with rope, and left with $40 in cash and a blank check from her purse.

Reynolds' defense team didn't deny that Reynolds was responsible for the murder but attempted to show that he was drunk and had not gone to Ms. Foster's house intending to kill her.

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