COLUMBUS -- Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday issued a reprieve of execution for Ohio inmate Warren Henness, who had scheduled to be executed on Feb. 13.
The new date of execution has been moved to May 14, 2020.
DeWine issued the reprieve following the decision and order issued Jan. 14, by U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael R. Merz that said in part:
“…executing him by Ohio’s current three-drug protocol will certainly or very likely cause him severe pain and needless suffering because of the dose of midazolam intended to be used will not render him sufficiently unconscious as to prevent him from suffering the severe pain caused by injection of the paralytic drug or potassium chloride or the severe pain and needless suffering caused by pulmonary edema from the midazolam itself…
“… this is not a result with which the Court is comfortable. In 2017, the Court heard extensive evidence that midazolam was not achieving the intended result of blocking the severe pain caused by the second and third drugs…
“…we have good evidence that midazolam will cause the ‘waterboarding’ effects of pulmonary edema. If Ohio executes Warren Hennes under its present protocol, it will almost certainly subject him to severe pain and needless suffering. Reading the plain language of the Eighth Amendment, that should be enough to constitute cruel and unusual punishment.”
Although this decision will be appealed, because of this opinion by U.S. Magistrate Judge Merz, DeWine had issued a reprieve of execution until Sept. 12.
DeWine has directed the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction to assess Ohio’s current options for execution drugs and examine possible alternative drugs.
Henness, who goes by his middle name, was convicted of killing Richard Meyers, 51, in Columbus in 1992. Myers, a lab technician at a veterans hospital in Chillicothe in southern Ohio, often volunteered with Alcoholics Anonymous to help people with addictions. He had been helping Henness find drug treatment for his wife.