Prisons Department Says It Will Up Dosage Of Execution Drugs

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The January execution of Dennis McGuire was the first time ever someone was put to death with the sedative midazolam and the opioid hydromorphone.

It was the longest on record, veteran witnesses say McGuire appeared to be gasping, and McGuire’s family filed a lawsuit against the state.

The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction’s review acknowledges unusual body movements, but says the execution was humane and constitutional. The report says McGuire appears to have been unconscious after the lethal injection, and that – quoting here – there is no evidence McGuire experienced any pain, distress or anxiety.

But DRC also says it will increase the dosage of the drugs used, which it says will more thoroughly knock out the inmate and depress respiratory activity. The next execution is scheduled for May 28.