FILE - In this November 2005 file photo, the death chamber at the Southern Ohio Corrections Facility is seen through glass from the witness room, in Lucasville, Ohio. Ohio prison officials have said they expect to announce a new lethal injection drug by Friday, Oct. 4, 2013 after the supply of pentobarbital expired Monday. The announcement of a new lethal injection drug is likely to be followed quickly by lawsuits and other challenges. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)
COLUMBUS — Ohio does not have enough of its priority execution drug on hand to carry out the scheduled lethal injection of Ronald R. Phillips next month and will already fall back on Plan C outlined earlier this month.
The state has been unable to find a supply of the powerful sedative pentobarbital through either its traditional manufacturer or through a compounding pharmacy that would produce it for the state on demand. Instead, it plans to use lethal doses intravenously of backup drugs midazolam and hydromorphone.
These are drugs that the state has earmarked for several years for use by direct injection into the condemned inmate’s muscles only if it cannot find useable veins through which the pentobarbital could flow. However, it has never been used for that purpose.
The change in protocol announced earlier this month allows the state to have a compounding pharmacy replicate the drug for the state after its Danish manufacturer balked at its use to put people to death.
Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office today notified U.S. District Court in Columbus of the change. The filing follows Friday’s amended lawsuit filed by Phillips’ attorney to challenge the new protocol. In addition to challenging the backup option, it challenges the concept of buying pentobarbital as a compounded drug directly from a pharmacy.
“The use of execution drugs manufactured by pharmacists in an unknown facility specifically for use in an execution of a known individual for a known crime and at a known time and date, rather than by an FDA-approved manufacturer in a sterile, FDA-approved facility using FDA-approved and inspected methods to manufacture drugs for a therapeutic use, is a radical departure from the previous execution protocol, with myriad and significant constitutional concerns,” the complaint reads.
Phillips is scheduled to be executed on Nov. 14 at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville for the sexual assault murder of his Akron girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter in 1993.