Condemned Ohio Killer Challenging New Lethal Injection Drug

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UPDATE 1:35 p.m. Ohio says it will use a never-tried dose of two drugs injected intravenously to put to death an inmate who raped and killed his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter.

The announcement Monday by the state prison system means the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction wasn't able to obtain enough pentobarbital, the drug Ohio formerly used until its manufacturer put it off-limits for executions.

The state says it will use a combination of midazolam, a sedative, and hydromorphone, a painkiller, in the Nov. 14 execution of Ronald Phillips of Akron.

Those drugs are included in Ohio's untested, back-up execution method, which requires them to be injected directly into an inmate's muscle. No state has put a prisoner to death with those drugs in any fashion.

A condemned Ohio killer facing execution next month for raping and killing a 3-year-old girl wants to challenge the state's new lethal injection drug policy.

Lawyers for death row inmate Ronald Phillips say the state's plan to switch to a non-FDA-regulated dose of pentobarbital raises the possibility that Phillips and other condemned inmates could suffer tremendous pain and discomfort.

The lawyers also said in court filings late Friday the state has watered down its execution procedures by giving individuals designated by the prisons director authority for execution decisions instead of the director himself.

The filings also ask a federal judge permission to include whatever specialty pharmacy is chosen to make the new dose of pentobarbital in the lawsuit.

The state has until Wednesday to respond.